What Was That Smell In Seattle?

What Was That Smell In Seattle?
SEATTLE - How to put this delicately?

Seattle stunk today.

A disgusting odor permeated homes, cars and office buildings in just about every neighborhood.

And for awhile, no one seemed to know what it was or where it was coming from.

We tracked it down through King County's Wastewater Treatment Division and found out it was sewage.

"Oh yeah, it smells like sewage out here," one Fremont worker told us.

In neighborhoods like Fremont, the day started like this...

People told us, "It smelled like dead animals. Like a cooking dead animal. It was pretty gross."

And, "I was having my breakfast in my car and I thought maybe I had stepped on something."

You didn't. You just smelled a wastewater regulator in the U-District that broke down and flooded.

Raw sewage that's supposed to get a freshening up before hitting a pipeline to the treatment plant left smelling just as bad as it came in.

And it wasn't just Fremont.

The stench leaked out in neighborhoods along the way.

"I was in Queen Anne this morning," said one woman. "It was in the Greenwood neighborhood. That's where I live," said another.

And a man told us, "I was in West Seattle on California at Alaska and it smelled like a wastewater treatment plant."

Wait a minute.

That means the odor drifted all the way through downtown to reach West Seattle?

"I don't think it would've been that widespread," says Wastewater Treatment Division Director Don Theiler. "There may have been some hydrogen sulfide escaping from some of the manholes. It's a very pungent odor. But West Seattle, no, it couldn't have gone that far."

There might be something to it according the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.

An inversion and light wind could conceivably carry the essence of sewage across town.

"Oh. That's disgusting," reacted one woman.


But by this afternoon it was fixed.