The Glendale Civic Association Facebook page has been abuzz with complaints about an unusual odor wafting through the muggy heat into open windows and through newly mounted air conditioning units.
“Last night we had to close our windows because the smell was so bad,” posted Glendale resident Elaine Marry. “Something has to be done about this.”
Speculations about the scent range anywhere from the surrounding water bodies like Jamaica Bay or the canals in Howard Beach, referring to the odor as a “low tide” smell, to leaky gas mains.
“Usually something like that is coming from the sewer system, but when they smelled it, it was dry out,” said Gary Giordano, district manager of Community Board 5 (CB5). “There have been times that I’ve smelled something that like sewer gas recently, or a very musty smell.”
Giordano speculated the odor might be coming from a number of possible places in the neighborhood.
“I did catch a whiff of something when I was driving on the Jackie Robinson Parkway,” he recalled. “Kind of the same thing. A very musty smell that kind of smelled like sewer gas. I was coming back to work between the Myrtle Avenue exit near Woodhaven Boulevard in Cypress Hills, and it kind of smelled like rotten eggs.”
Kathy Masi, president of the Glendale Civic Association, has been on top of the issue since it arose over the past week or so, and has been collecting numerous complaints ever since.
“Personally, it smells like sewer backup to me, but I am not sure,” Masi said. “But we cant live like this, and I don’t know what other community would allow this.”
As it has been speculated the smell might be due to a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO), a phenomena when treatment plants can no longer support the sewage flow after a heavy downpour. Although Giordano said when the complaints first started coming in on June 26, it was somewhat dry out, Masi is confident it is sewer related as she first started hearing about the issue weeks earlier.
“Complaints started coming in around the middle of June,” she said. “My real issue is that no one can give us an answer.”
Vincent Arcuri, chair of CB5, responded to the Glendale Civic Association’s posts, saying, “Depending on the direction of the winds, it could be from Bowery Bay, College Point, Owl's Head or the Rockaway treatment plants that may still be dumping diluted effluent into the bays.”