Smell something Tuesday? Don’t blame the treatment plant, city says


If you noticed a strong smell in downtown Edmonds Tuesday, you weren’t alone. But according to Edmonds Public Works Director Phil Williams, city officials don’t believe it was coming from the city’s sewage treatment plant.

Here’s the memo that Williams sent to the Edmonds City Council in response to complaints they received Tuesday:

“We looked all over the Bowl for a source of odor this morning. The Public Safety building, a couple schools, etc. have generated complaints and have all been checked. We have yet to smell anything unusual ourselves. Odors are difficult to document, are normally fleeting by nature, dependent on air currents, and experienced differently by every observer. The WWTP (Wastewater Treatment Plant) is running perfectly normally, our pump stations are not having any problems, etc. The places where we have generated odors in our collection system in the past have all been checked today and no odors were identified.

We did send our people down to the beach to see what that was like. They reported very strong smells in several locations along the waterfront. We had a minus tide this morning for the first time in over a month. Any organic material that has been dislodged over the last month or has floated into the intertidal zone over the last month would have been exposed to the air for the first time this morning with the lower low tide coming at 12:30pm. This is the best explanation I can offer at this point. The pattern of complaints, when plotted on a map show a very wide distribution throughout the bowl area and even beyond. This does not suggest a single point source of odor as the culprit.

We do not believe this is related to Edmonds’ wastewater operations.”

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