SELBYVILLE, Del.- A mysterious odor has left people in Selbyville trying to sniff out the source.
From farms to highways to a nearby chicken plant, people in Selbyville said they are familiar with the usual odors - but not this. The town said it has recorded at least 13 complaints of a strong, foul smell dating back to February.
Town administrator Robert Dickerson described the smell as "earthy, sewer." The odor is intermittent but strong and appears randomly, he said. The smell tends to dissipate quickly, making the source difficult to pinpoint, Dickerson said.
Each person we spoke with described the odor differently. But all agreed: it stinks, and it's a relatively new odor in the community.
"It smelled like a pond of rotten, dead fish," said Holly Kerin of Selbyville. "Like an abundance of dead fish in the area."
Kerin said she last noticed the odor a few days ago.
"It's terrible," Kerin said. "I have to close my windows. I can't leave my house open because it smells that bad."
The town is now asking people to phone in times and locations in hopes of tracking the source. So far, there is no apparent pattern.
"Sometimes you have to go back in the house because it's so strong you can't walk," said Rosemary of Selbyville, who did not give her last name.
While people have guesses, the cause of the odor remains a mystery.
Dickerson said the town's engineer is working with an engineer from the nearby Mountaire Farms poultry plant to see if the stench can be traced back to the facility.
Over the telephone, Mountaire Farms spokesman Roger Marino noted the exact source of the odor is still unclear and may not be related to the plant; however, Marino said the company enjoys a good relationship with the town and vowed to address any problem if the smell is traced back to the facility.
There are no recorded complaints on file with the Air Quality Division of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, said spokesman Michael Globetti. DNREC does not have ambient air monitors in the area, he said.
Dickerson said the town's wastewater and sewer system is functioning normally.
Most people just want to know where the odor is coming from.
"My neighbor, she came out and asked me what it was and I have no idea," said Kerin.