North Salt Lake sniffing out source of rotten stench surrounding city

Oct 6, 2022, 6:06 PM | Updated: 6:08 pm

NORTH SALT LAKE, Utah — It popped up out of nowhere on a perfect fall morning.

As Latai Kaufusi stepped outside her home. she noticed a puzzling smell permeating the Foxboro neighborhood.

It was overwhelming, and she couldn’t escape it.

“It was like, really yucky,” Kaufusi said, describing the unpleasant scent wafting through the air around her house. “It kind of smelled like dead fish, just something really rotten.”

In her neighborhood Facebook group, Kaufusi saw a post where others were talking about the same awful odor and wondering where it was coming from.

“I was thinking the worst, like, ‘Ew! It’s probably like a decomposed body somewhere!'” Kaufusi immediately thought.

Max March, who lives just up the street, took a good whiff as soon as he let his dogs outside in the morning.

“I thought maybe something had died in my backyard,” he said.

March could tell the smell was unusual and unlike anything that had descended upon the area before. He even lives near the wastewater facility and a hazardous medical waste disposal business.

“I’ve smelled the Davis Sewer Plant before. This was not that,” he said.

March also used the word “fishy,” saying it was almost as if a bunch of shrimp had been sitting out for a few days.

The strange stench drifted over to North Salt Lake City Hall, where even police jumped on the case. Sherrie Pace, community development director, said officers noticed the smell around town, and so did the building inspector.

After taking several calls from residents, she personally got in her car and began driving around to investigate.

“I have been out, driven around about two hours trying to locate it,” Pace said. “There are pockets of the smell throughout the city and also outside of the city.”

She called the refinery and said they also investigated, and it wasn’t coming from them. Same with the South Davis Sewer Plant. She didn’t think it was the hazardous medical waste disposal business because she said they stopped incineration operations in June.

Pace noticed the smell wasn’t powerful right next to the Great Salt Lake or Farmington Bay, so she didn’t think it was coming from the lake. But then she’d catch it concentrated in places like higher up in the hills. She said people reported the smell as north as west of Farmington and also in Woods Cross.

It didn’t matter where she drove in town. She was able to get a whiff of dead dish.

“It was from our hillsides, all the way down to the flats out by Foxboro, so it’s not just isolated in one area. That’s what makes it all that more mysterious,” Pace said.

A few hours later, the winds pushed the putrid aroma away. It suddenly disappeared as quickly as it arrived.

Even if residents could breathe again, they couldn’t help but be baffled.

And they’re wondering if the smell will be back.

“With the concerns of the lake drying up and all that and the arsenic and things of the lakebed– I didn’t know what it was,” March said. “So, I’d like to know what it was.”

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North Salt Lake sniffing out source of rotten stench surrounding city