What’s the big stink in Albion in Maple Ridge?

Residents riled by elusive odour that's in the air, somewhere

There is a noxious smell in Albion that has residents checking their household garbage to see if it’s rotten, and fire trucks racing to the area after calls of natural gas leaks.

But it’s not a gas leak and it’s not garbage. At this point, the city is still trying to pinpoint the source of the rotten-egg pong.

It can hang in the air over the playing field at Samuel Robertson Technical, or be detected on Lougheed Highway and 240th Street, but it’s not there all the time.

Scott Leaf said he has been assailed by the stench inside his house in Thornhill Heights on 248th Street.

“It’s like a garbage dump smell,” he said. “It’s so bad… you think the garbage in your house has gone bad.”

He has led the conversation on the Albion Neighbours Facebook page, where there can be found numerous complaints about “horrible fumes” and “rotten eggs.”

People associate the smell of rotten eggs with natural gas. Fortis adds the odourant mercaptan to its naturally odourless gas, so a leak can be detected. That has led to emergency calls to the Maple Ridge Fire Department.

Fire Chief Howard Exner said in the last four weeks there were six complaints that crews responded to with lights and sirens, only to find there was no gas leak. Fortis reports no problems in the area.

He said there have been numerous calls from that area to the fire department, but it comes and goes.

“It’s quite a transient smell.”

“I don’t believe it to be dangerous at this point,” said Exner. “It’s definitely a nuisance.”

He has referred the matter to city hall, and Metro environmental staff, who have been investigating the source this week, using air quality detection equipment.

City environmental planner Rod Stott has received approximately 12 complaints in the past two weeks, and is now eliminating possible sources.

He says a potential source is “swamp gas” from anaerobic processes, which would have been speeded by continuous rain combined with relatively mild temperatures in recent weeks. He said it’s a more earthy smell than natural gas.

“It’s an unpleasant smell for many people,” he said.

Stott said manure spreading, sewage treatment in Langley and even spawning salmon could be causing the smell.

“There’s a lot of potential sources for these odours.”

Fortis reports no problems.

Coun. Gordy Robson said the Kwantlen First Nation owns an old dump site on the Lougheed Highway, near the corner of Lougheed and 240th. The site did not take household waste, but stumps and other bio matter were dumped there.

However, Brenda Gabriel at the band office said the Seyem’ Qwantlen Business Group, which oversees band lands, has been working to cap the former landfill site. So she said it could not be assumed that the old landfill was the cause.

Nearby, AT&H Industries takes green waste from municipalities to make topsoil.

AT&H spokesperson Holly Long said the material brought to their site has already been composted, and it is ripe when it gets stirred up.

“When you disturb it, to mix it with sand, that’s when you get smell,” she said.

It is strong enough that when mixing happens at a similar operation on the Langley side of the Fraser River, the smell wafts over to her Albion operation.

But Long said there are several operators in the area bringing in the green waste to make topsoil. She has worked with Metro Vancouver on containing the smell, and has gone to using smaller piles of green waste, rather than a single big one.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

ON THE PAGE: FVRL Express launches Monday

It’s as easy as click, pick, and go at Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows libraries starting next week

LETTER: Doctor calls foul on plea for hazard pay

Dr. Walton doesn’t believe he deserve any thing more for working during COVID

Virtual gala brings dinner to the door and money to locals in need

Maple Ridge Community Foundation is holding a ‘Night In Gala’ fundraiser on June 13

Fraser Valley Regional Library branches offer curbside pick up

After two and a half months of being closed, people can once again check books out of the library

LETTER: What’s happening to key staff at The ACT?

While arts centre prepares for slow re-opening, it will apparently do it without a few key people

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping The News to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

B.C.’s police watchdog probing death of Richmond man in alleged shoplifting incident

Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is asking any witnesses to come forward

Most Read