State Police Tip Line: 1 (866) 326-7256

UPDATE: Pungent Smell Wafting Through Our Area

It is a mystery that has tongues wagging and noses sniffing across our area.

For at least 24 hours people have been noticing an unusual odor popping up in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties and beyond.

It’s not your imagination and it’s not something on the bottom of your shoe.

So what it is? One thing is for sure, everyone has a nose, and almost everyone has a theory.

From Luzerne to Lackawanna to Wyoming and Schuylkill Counties, ┬áthere is a mystery in the air and it doesn’t smell too good.

“I had my window down. I came in and I was like ‘what was that?’ I didn’t even know, I don’t know what it is,” said Cassidy Martz of Benton.

For about the past 24 hours a strange stench has been popping up and just about nobody knows exactly what to make of it.

Natural, chemical, animal? A mixture of everything.

“I thought I smelled something funny like sewage, and when the other girl came in she said, ‘did you smell that?’ I am like ‘yeah,'” said Tiffany Gray of Shickshinny.

At Janet’s Total Appearance Salon in Shickshinny even people who didn’t get a whiff of the odor have been caught up in the buzz.

“Seen it on my Facebook newsfeed a lot yesterday, and when I was at work last night, and on the news,” said Amanda Ellersick of Mocanaqua.

We explored the Wyoming Valley, trying to sniff out some answers.

DEP spokesperson Colleen Connelly says the situation is unusual.

“Nothing we have ever seen like this before, so it is kind of baffling. It really is,” Connelly said.

The agency is checking sewage plants and landfills, but so far nothing definite has been found that could account for the widespread stink.

It looks like the prime suspect is Mother Nature.

There is plenty of snow and ice left and it may be that this unusual winter has led to the unusual smell.

The odors may be triggered by a variety of phenomena, including river gas, vegetation rot, and snow mold

“When snow sits around for a while, it picks up the odors in the air, and it starts to melt, it starts to break down, and there is an odor,” Connelly said.

The DEP has gotten hundreds of phone calls, but with so many theories about the smell, nobody “nose” for sure.

“They have all their ideas what they think it is, ‘it is a manure pit, sewage pit, my neighbor’s dog buried his bones in the back yard.’ (It) could be that, unfortunately, yeah” laughed Connelly.

Connolly doesn’t believe the smell is dangerous but if it is making you feel ill, you should go inside. She also says the time of day could also play a factor.

DEP has staff from its Clean Water Program checking around with area sewage treatment plants to check for any strong odors. Also our Emergency Response Team is checking at area landfills for any strong odors.”

The phone number for the DEP complaint line is 570-830-3057

Let them know what you are experiencing, and maybe they can get to the bottom of the smell wafting through the area.

Some of our viewers have reported the smell on Twitter:


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