A noxious stench is oppressing Astoria, but it's nothing a little eau de toilette can't fix. In response to complaints, the DEP is spraying a chemical perfume over a wastewater treatment plant across the East River from Astoria, on nearby Wards Island. "It smells like Chanel Number 2," one DEP worker quipped to CBS2. It's believed that the pervasive odor has blanketed Astoria because an aeration blower broke down at the plant a few weeks ago. And when the heat soared earlier this week, locals say the stink became unbearable.
One says the odor resembles dead fish; another likens it to "puke and rotten eggs." A third resident tells the Daily News, "It's eye-watering. I don't need coffee in the morning to get up, it's that bad." City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. first noticed the stench two months ago and says, "I've never smelled it this bad." After pressuring the DEP to take action, they installed six electric misters at the plant to spray the chemical perfume, which officials say is harmless and designed to break down the Hydrogen Sulfide gas coming off the plant. For good measure, the DEP also brought in Joseph Scafidi, one of the investigators who solved the Great Maple Syrup Smell Mystery.
At a concert and fireworks show in Astoria Park Wednesday night, the stench was lessened, but not completely covered up. "The smell was putrid when we got here," resident Peter Daddario said. "Now it's not as bad, but we still smell it." Of course, the use of perfume to cope with foul-smelling situations like this isn't unheard of; in April tenants in a building in the South Bronx became so revolted by the combined odors from a sewage plant and trash transfer station that decided to pump perfume into their building.