What smells in Delaware County? Officials are trying to find out

RIDLEY PARK, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Officials in Delaware County are searching for the source of a strange smell that was reported on both sides of the Delaware River on Friday.

Viewers in both Salem and Delaware counties, have been complaining about the foul odor.

"A strong, pungent chemical odor is rolling across Delaware County," said Timothy Boyce, the director of Emergency Services in Delaware County.

Boyce said hundreds of calls are coming into Emergency Services about a consistent, heavy chemical odor rolling through the county.

Boyce said officials have been checking air quality and speed directions in places where reports came in, but the smell passes quickly, sometimes too quickly for his team to catch.

"You walked out of your door, your neighbor may have coated their driveway with something, and you smell this odor, very strong," as Boyce describes the smell. "Not enough to call the fire department, but enough to tell you something is wrong and something stinks."

That smell, Boyce said, is coming from communities near the Delaware River, and then drifting inland with the wind. On Friday, there were also reports of the strong smell in New Castle County, Delaware, and Salem County, New Jersey, where one resident said she could barely escape the stink in her own home.

"Woke up this morning, came outside, got the mail - just this horrible, horrible stench," said Michelle Ferullo, from Logan Township. "I actually had to shut my windows and turn the air on."

Boyce said this is no accident. In the last two years, the odor had closed schools and impacted hospitals, and he wants it to stop, as he's not sure if the odor is harmful or not yet.

"I'm convinced that a facility is aware that this is happening, this isn't a one-off," said Boyce.

Boyce said the human nose is a better detector than some of their equipment, which is why it's important to report the smell promptly, so they can try to track it back to the source. Call the department of environmental protection to report.
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