Metro Vancouver sniffs out bad smell in Port Moody

Officers narrow down source of smell to waste water at industrial facility, but complaints still coming in

Metro Vancouver’s keenest noses were combing Port Moody streets this week to identify the source of a mysterious smell that has plagued residents for several days.

And they may have found the cause, says Kathy Preston, program manager of air quality regulation.

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After following their noses for several days beginning Sunday, officers narrowed down the stench to some waste water treatment ponds at an industrial facility.

She isn’t identifying the facility but said it appeared to be the source of the oder after officers chased the scent upwind from the Easthill Park neighbourhood, near Barnet Highway.

“They found odours consistent at an industrial facility, and they found some specific sources on the site. The facility agreed to clean it up,” Preston said.

But while the stink seemed to have died down after the ponds were cleaned, Metro Vancouver’s air quality division is still getting some complaints, so more sleuthing is needed to see if there are other sources.

Preston speculates that the continuing smell may be emanating from organic material revealed in Port Moody Inlet at low tide.

“We do think there’s other possible sources of odour,” Preston told The Tri-City News Friday. “This morning we got a half a dozen complaints, all when low tide occurred.”

Staff are continuing to monitor the situation, she said, and analyzing information from reports taken since the smell started late Saturday night.

As to what special equipment was required to detect the sources of smell, Preston said the human nose is better than any equipment at locating and identifying smells. Not only is the human nose extremely sensitive in detecting smells, it can also figure out what it is.

“We evolved this way, it’s a form of self preservation,” Preston said.

On Sunday, Port Moody Fire Department and Fortis BC responded to complaints and found that the smell wasn’t natural-gas related.

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