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Health Director: Compost Likely To Blame For Danvers Mystery Odor

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Laurie Kirby Laurie Kirby
Laurie Kirby is an award-winning journalist who came to WBZ NewsRadio...
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DANVERS (CBS) – A foul odor wafting through town caused numerous complaints to police and the public health department on Monday evening.

“We were making broccoli rabe and garlic and it was ruining my dinner because I could smell it,” Public Health Director Peter Mirandi told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Laurie Kirby reports

Mirandi said once complaints came in the town’s environmental public health agent went out to investigate.

“It was coming from a bordering town because of prevailing winds,” he said. “The smell comes from an application of a fertilizer that is deemed organic, that is processed in this region that when it gets wet, it emits a very strong odor and is unsatisfactory to neighbors.”

Mirandi said he recognized the smell once he got a whiff.

“There is an organic farm in Danvers that stopped using it because of the smell,” Mirandi said. “It happened a year or two ago.”

Mirandi called Peabody’s Public Health Director Sharon Cameron, alerting her to the odor.

On Tuesday morning, Cameron said the odor was in the area of Route 114 and they would be sending an agent out to pin down the cause.

“Within the next day or two we should know what happened,” Cameron said.

Cameron noted nursery operations in the area have compost piles and decomposing leaves and grass can give off a bad smell.

“When you have a large composting operation, there is a big volume of materials and some materials in the center of the pile may become anaerobic which means it’s not in contact with oxygen so there may be anaerobic bacteria that is giving off a smell,” Cameron said.

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