Pungent Strathmore smell coming from compost materials outside town: officials

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WATCH: The Town of Strathmore is trying to sniff out the source of an unpleasant and mysterious stench. As Christa Dao reports, the odor has been lingering for more than a year – Nov 28, 2018

The town of Strathmore has been trying to sniff out the source of an unpleasant and mysterious stench.

According to those who live in the area, the pungent smell has been lingering in the town for more than a year. When you visit the town, the strong odour is hard to miss and greets you quickly.

“On a bad day, it’s quite strong to the point in the nighttime, it’s hard to tolerate,” resident Ryan Tyldesley said.

People describe the stench as having strong nuances of farm life, manure and sewage.

“It just stinks… It’s annoying when you go outside, you smell it,” resident Ed Holmes said.

The stink’s source was a mystery for many, with some believing the strong smell came from a broken pipe in the area or perhaps a nearby sewage facility. Others believed it was due to one of the feed lots around town.

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People in Strathmore say a certain smell has been lingering for more than a year. Mike Gill/Global News

Recently, the company responsible for waste removal owned up to it. Waste Management said its facility southeast of the town had accepted commercial organic materials from regions surrounding Strathmore.

“With our residents and customers within the region actively participating in organics programs, we’ve seen an increase in volumes,” a Waste Management spokesperson said.

Strathmore Mayor Pat Fule said the smell is caused by compost material from Chestermere and the Calgary Zoo.

“The company, Waste Management, has been bringing in compost material from other communities, Calgary commercial [and] Chestermere, and I think that’s what’s causing this latest escalation… I’ve been told it’s the Calgary Zoo as well,” Fule said.

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The zoo, however, said it has been told its waste is not causing the smell.

Despite the blame game, Fule said he believes it’s the culmination of all of the compost material and it is simply too much for the facility to handle.

“[It] just became too much and they realized it was being hard to process,” Fule said.

Waste Management told Global News, in an effort to remedy the situation, it has reduced operating capacity to 10 per cent.

“Recently, we let council know we’re limiting our inbound material and adapting to different ways of composting,” said Jordan Lister, Waste Management’s district manager.

Fule said he has been told Waste Management will be limiting its intake strictly to Strathmore. The excess compost materials will be shipped to an area near Airdrie.

“Waste Management has assured me that have stopped taking any materials from other communities, from other areas, and so they’re handling Strathmore compost now,” he said.

Fule expects the air to improve dramatically by mid-December.

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