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Acrid Odor Permeates Town Over Weekend

Those who were outside or visited Sulphur Springs over the weekend likely were unable to avoid an acrid odor permeating through most, if not all, of town over the weekend. The source of that really foul smell has yet to be definitively determined, according to city officials.

The scent was described by several as the mix of raw sewage and soured milk, the aroma of a manure truck, eau de natural fertilizer and a few other foul descriptors that can’t be printed here. City dispatchers said they had no records of any trucks overturning or leaking product or manure. Firefighters were dispatched to one area Saturday after a resident complained of the intensely awful odor, to check it using detectors to rule out a gas leak, and a city utility truck also responded in that area, but soon cleared.

The fetid odor was very strong late Friday evening, and midday Saturday as the sun intensified. Some noted the disgusting smell was enough to sour the stomach, while a couple of city residents reported the unpleasant odor was so strong at their residence that they gagged. Another said they wore a cloth face mask with a folded scented dryer sheet against their face while outside Saturday but could still smell it.

People reported smelling it Friday night, that the malodor had abated Saturday morning, but by 3 p.m. Saturday had returned in what some said was an increased intensity. By 8 p.m. the odor has subsided again, only to return Sunday afternoon. The fetor was reported to city officials on Saturday, but the odor dissipated before city crews were able to investigated throroughly. Residents reported smelling the putrid odor Friday night from at least as far east as Walgreens and Walmart along South Broadway Street, to as far south as Wildcat Way at Arbala Road and north to Linda Drive at Gilmer Street. The stench on Saturday and Sunday was detected just northwest of town near Lake Sulphur Springs across Loop 301 and Airport Road, then south to at least the 1700 block of South Broadway Street and east to Mockingbird on Posey Lane.

City staff drove around, checking areas where the pungent aroma was reported to be strongest, but as of Monday morning were unable to ascertain the particular source for the smell. Some local residents, including city employees, speculated that the ground has been saturated for so long, that the stench is rot of vegetation and potentially the soggy ground rotting, with the heat intensifying the stench. Others questioned whether a pasture or field in or near town had been covered in fresh fertilizer. The city manager noted that should the acrid odor return, city staff will be evaluating the wind directions and follow the odor to try to find the source, then see if anything can be done to about it.

map of the City of Sulphur Springs

Author: Faith Huffman

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