County officials search for source of "mystery smell" - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

County officials search for source of "mystery smell"

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ENCINITAS (CBS 8) - County officials Tuesday evening theorized that a "mystery odor" which temporarily plagued several coastal North County communities earlier in the day may have originated from the ocean/

Shortly before 5pm Tuesday, many residents reported a strange gas-like smell.

Some callers have told News 8 the smell is similar to an incident in 2011. One resident in Encinitas described the odor as "sewer gas or a really strong gas of some sort."

Officials say several people called 911 reporting what they thought was a natural gas leak. A search conducted by the North County Fire Department turned up no gas leaks.

"It was a strong enough smell that five minutes later, I called 911," Encinitas resident David Collins told News 8.

"It smelled like it was a gas leak," added Maryanne Bache, who lives next door. "And if it wasn't a gas leak, it smelled like propane."

While the source of the smell is still under investigation, San Diego lifeguards said the odor was emanating from the ocean floor off Encinitas and was being carried by the wind.

Tuesday evening, air quality experts from the county theorized the stench might have been caused by rotting kelp.

The Air Pollution Control District says it will begin conducting tests Wednesday. It has special stations set up throughout the county which constantly gather air samples...

A similar "mystery odor" was reported throughout San Diego County last August. While experts conducted air quality tests in the days following, the source of that smell was never definitively determined.

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