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The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Wednesday, September 28

Source of the Stink

It's funny that after years in this business I still can't always predict what stories are going to get people all hot and bothered.

We have been getting calls on the Sound Off line, comments on the website (or Web site if you follow AP style) and I have received calls at my desk-- all about this smell down Excelsior Avenue.

Some might say, as, ZYXW did on the original SeeClickFix story about the issue: "Frankly, I'm surprised this is considered news."

I felt like Toucan Sam the other day when I wrote the follow up about the DEC investigating the smell, wandering the area, following my nose wherever it goes trying to determine the source of any smell. I caught a couple whiffs on the breeze but never could figure out where it was coming from.

But it certainly has people talking. Everyone has a theory. One man in my office said the woods there used to be called the "Ten Spring Woods" because springs run throughout it-- springs that can be sulfuric and nasty-smelling.

I got a call saying it was the amount of rain we got from Irene. It pushed the manhole covers up, spread sewage all around and receded.

"The whole area smelled like your basic septic tank," said Ray Nichols, a nearby resident. He said he witnessed the manhole covers on Excelsior and East avenues lift and water spew out, along with everything else you might expect in a sewer. "There was toilet paper around the area afterward. The next day you could see the stuff on the ground and you could smell it horribly."

One man I spoke to near the site said recent construction probably hit a sewer line.

Others have dismissed the smell altogether. "It's smelled for years," they say, and the only reason you hear about it more now is because of the Spring Run Trail cut through the woods that brings more people to the area-- more people to complain that is.

Everyone, though, smells the smell, it's just a matter of the source.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation spokesperson Dave Winchell said Water Quality crews took samples of water from "seepage" seeming to come out of the ground and run into the creek along the Spring Run Trail.

"The first thing we do when we have a possible pollution problem is to find out where the problem is coming from and stop it," Winchell said.

He said the discharge is being tested to determine whether it is sewage and the results will be returned within a few days.

When one is found, I'll be sure to let everyone know.

If anyone has any theories, feel free to let us know in the comments.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Considering the fact that Spring Run takes all the water from the duck ponds in Congress Park underneath the entire "Gut" region, High Rock Ave, and Excelsior, past the County sewage pumping station and the EPA superfund remediation site, it is a wonder it doesn't smell worse around there. Plus, the smell has been around there for as long as any of us old Saratogians can remember.

September 28, 2011 at 3:23 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's TEN SPRING WOODS, not Tenth.

September 28, 2011 at 6:05 PM 
Blogger Lucian said...

My apologies anonymous, I've changed it. I was told it was "Tenth-Spring Woods." Thanks for the heads-up.

September 29, 2011 at 12:08 PM 

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