"Nasty" Napa Odor Irks Residents, Puzzles City

Updated with more of your comments: Residents who smell something foul are urged to call the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, according to Seth Anderson with the City of Napa Public Works Department.

Updated 4 p.m.: The mystery of the aroma appears to have been solved: Please see .


The Facebook posts started around noon Thursday on the Napa Patch page:

Chris Shepard-Brown: "Why does So. Napa, River Park area smell like S_ _ _ _ today? Is it Napa sanatation or the recycle plant? Any ideas?"

Casey Thirnbeck-Scott: "I'm curious too! I smelled it yesterday!"

Cathy White Martin: "Does anyone know what is making Napa smell like "Dog-Doodoo"?"

Cesar Brambila: "whats with the nasty smell ??"

Napa Patch is a lot like a radio station sometimes: We take requests, so I called the and talked with Seth Anderson about the mystery smell.

"Nobody's been able to get a handle on it," he said. 

City workers called , and the dump and "none of them are doing anything out of the ordinary," Anderson continued.

"The consensus is that it's harvest" and that the aroma is winery-related, Anderson said.

Residents concerned about the odor can contact the , www.baaqmd.gov to request an investigation, he said.

The harvest theory was immediately challenged in comments on Twitter, Facebook and on this page. A sample of the social media responses:

@NapaValleyChick: "@NapaCAPatch that is NOT what harvest smells like! :)"

@SalaSalon: "@NapaCAPatch "Harvest" was not one of the words I've heard to describe #DowntownNapa recent aroma!"

Matthew Young: "I know what fermenting grapes smell like. This smell liked feces. I've encountered a similar scent in downtown San Francisco and it's far more unpleasant than the smell of grapes."

Kim Schulz-Ponciano: "Sorry that is not fermentation, it was gagging me all the way on terrace and coombsville. Smelled like cat boo boo."

And then came a Facebook post from Jennifer Schindler Keiser: "They are working in the marsh out on Highway 37. Digging up old, nasty marsh soil. It smells all the way in Fairfield!"

What do you think it is? Do you smell it? Where in Napa are you located? Let's see how widespread the aroma is, and how long it lasts: Share your observations in the comments. If you'd rather remain anonymous, you're welcome to email your comment to me at napa@patch.com.

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Ryan Grant August 23, 2012 at 09:38 PM
I have lived here my whole life and harvest has never smelled like this. Try again
Jennifer Suann August 23, 2012 at 09:42 PM
I also have lived here my entire life and I have never smelled this before. I am in North Napa and it smells like cat or dog feces up here!
Kristine Schug August 23, 2012 at 09:42 PM
This is not the usual harvest smell, I have been in the business a long time. This does smell like someone ordered a huge amount of cow manure for landscaping or something. We can smell it in Browns Valley as well. Yuck.
Neven August 23, 2012 at 09:48 PM
First noticed the odor at Noon today at the Oxbow Market, and was surprised that it was also quite strong at Silverado Plaza.
Lynn S August 23, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Wondered why it smelled like horse manure outside my door this afternoon! I'm in S. Napa
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) August 23, 2012 at 09:50 PM
I just updated the story with a post suggesting it may in fact be an Aroma from Sonoma - please see above.
KJS August 23, 2012 at 09:51 PM
I kept looking in every corner of my house to see if the dogs left something behind...
Neven August 23, 2012 at 09:53 PM
I have horses, it doesn't smell like horse manure ... it's more like chicken manure.
Joanne August 23, 2012 at 09:57 PM
It was very strong this morning in American Canyon
Joanne August 23, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Come to think of it, I remember we all had this same experience last year..........anyone else remember ?
Carol Y August 23, 2012 at 10:01 PM
I smelled it today around noon at Bel Aire Plaza and then again in west Napa. It definitely does not smell winery related - smells more like garbage and manure combined.
Ash Leigh August 23, 2012 at 10:17 PM
I work off Kaiser. They are redoing the roads and sidewalks out here. It smells just like manure - I wonder if this is what ya'll are getting.
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) August 23, 2012 at 10:30 PM
According to the county, it is the marsh work on Hwy 37 near the Mare Island Bridge. I'm receiving a statement now and will have an update very soon.
Joanne August 23, 2012 at 10:48 PM
thats right Louisa.........that's what it was last year as well
Bill K August 23, 2012 at 10:54 PM
The smell is probably manure-based fertilizer, they are fertilizing some of the hay fields this week along 37, and I suspect any along 29 that have already been mown and baled are also being sprayed and seeded for the next season.
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) August 23, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Here's what I learned: http://napa.patch.com/articles/what-s-that-smell-marsh-gas-from-the-south-napa-county-says
Mark Mathews August 23, 2012 at 11:55 PM
I just figured it was the natural odor of being downwind from the State Capital chambers...
Mark Buckley August 24, 2012 at 12:18 AM
It smells like barf just outside my business office on California and Oak.
Patricia Howe August 24, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Alphabet streets, thought someone left a pile of dog poop in our yard. I'm in the wine biz and nothing about "harvest" smells anything like this, not even rotting grape skins/seeds (that's a whole different smell you get upvalley in about november...).
NapaAllTheWayToSonomaSmells August 24, 2012 at 05:46 PM
My wife and I were in Napa yesterday and we notice that manure smell. We thought we stepped on dog doo-doo. After a nice hot air balloon we travelled down Sonoma county and that smell was still around. We couldnt figure it out.. Made us not want to visit Napa or Sonoma anymore haha but luckily it's not permanent. We'll be back at a better smell.. Lol
Ash Leigh August 24, 2012 at 05:57 PM


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