Poughkeepsie’s Foul Poop Smell Returns During COVID-19 Outbreak
For those who lived in Poughkeepsie during the 90s, you've probably noticed that an unwelcome odor has returned.
While driving up Route 9 in the City of Poughkeepsie early in the morning I first recognized this unmistakable odor a few weeks ago. Every day since, it's become stronger and more pungent. Now, even with my windows completely rolled up I recoil in disgust as I drive past Marist College's south entrance. Yup, the poop smell has returned.
If you lived anywhere near the stretch of Route 9 by Marist College in the 1990s, you remember that unmistakable odor. A mixture of broccoli, sulfur and beef stew aromas would waft from the Poughkeepsie Sewage Treatment Plant and just hang in the air. On warm days it was almost unbearable, stinging the noses of anyone who was within smelling distance of the wastewater containment system.
The stench got so bad that the City of Poughkeepsie decided to call in an outside company to get rid of that dreaded poop smell once and for all. Ultimately, air was redirecting from the sewage tanks to stop the poop smell from being released into the city. The result was an 85 percent reduction in odor complaints.
In addition to the escaping air, the company solved other maintenance issues by replacing unreliable springs with simple bungee cords. The cords lasted longer and cut down on the collection of solid waste in the corners of the tanks, another source of the odor.
So why has the dreaded poop smell returned now?
It's unclear why Route 9 suddenly smells like a sewer again. Perhaps the stay-at-home order has cut down on employee hours necessary to keep the smell from escaping. Or maybe the fact that Marist College is completely empty has made reducing the smell less of a priority. Here's another theory, maybe so many people are now staying at home that the city's waste system is working at a higher capacity than usual. All of that hoarded toilet paper has to go somewhere, right?
Whatever the reason, the smell has given Poughkeepsie residents yet another reason to wear their face masks. But as disgusting as it is, I must admit that the odor does bring back some great memories. As a former Marist student, that fermented broccoli smell instantly brings me back to days of drinking pitchers of beer at Skinner's, wearing baggy flannel shirts and listening to Nirvana on my Sony Walkman. So I guess it's really not all that bad after all.**
**yes it is, please make it go away now for the love of God.
Note: A previous version of this story included a photo of the water treatment plant in Poughkeepsie that is not responsible for treating wastewater. Another nearby facility in Poughkeepsie is where the smelly sewage is actually treated.
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