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Everett Public Works accepting reports to help sniff out source of nasty odor

EVERETT, Wash. -- There was something funky going around in Everett, and several people were talking about a foul odor filling the air in the north part of town.

“It’s just a raunchy, raw smell,” said a woman named Teresita during her lunch break near downtown Everett. "You know the old dirt from under the ground, and it’s just that nasty smell? Yeah, smells like that."

“I couldn’t even breathe. Something between sewage and I don’t know what. Just god awful,” said Jeff Doleshel, while working during the lunch rush at Ray’s Drive-In. “I did not open my car door to vomit, but I thought about it.”

Some people thought the stink was coming from the Snohomish River.

“I’ve always thought it was the tide, low tide,” said Teresita. “I’ve been living here for, what, almost 17 years. I think I’ve always smelled something. I think people are just noticing it a lot more now.”

The Everett Department of Public Works received 13 odor reports since August 26th. Public information officer Kathleen Baxter said it’s not uncommon for them to receive reports in August and September about foul smells from the bay or river.

“That low tide that happens along with warmer weather and we have organics that are sending us some fragrances, it’s customarily caused people to call in,” said Baxter.

Other residents said they thought the smell was the result of a heavy rainstorm that flooded the city. One person reported the odor from the storm near the 10th and Broadway intersection. Baxter explained the rain overwhelmed some of the sewer and stormwater pipes, which caused some pipes to flood a few streets in north Everett.

“Ninety-five percent of it was truly just stormwater, but there was still a little bit that was sewer that was stored up and brought to the surface. And that is going to lead to more smells,” said Baxter.

Baxter said public works had odor reports in late August and then the calls slowed down. She said the calls picked up again after the storm. The public information officer said crews investigate every report.

“They go to the site to see if there’s something that they can tell what could be going on—is there possibly a broken sewer? Is there a lid off of a catch base that’s not covering its hole?” said Baxter.

Public works asked the public to have specific times and locations when they report a smell. The department said the extra details would help crews track down the source of the stench. Baxter encouraged people to contact public works with any issues that need attention. The dispatch number is 425-257-8821.

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