It’s in the air every single morning.
The odor wafts into Traci DiCaprio’s neighborhood in the 1300 block of Island Cove Drive in DeLand. She and her family recently moved from the 300 block of Heritage Estates Lane in DeLand.
“At 4:30 in the morning, I’ll be sitting outside and all of the sudden it’s like the odor becomes so strong of sulfur I gag,” Ms. DiCaprio said. “It’s been real bad.”
It's the same smell she noticed at her former home, she said. “The first time I smelled it here I thought, ‘dang it followed me. Is it me?’ Up until a few days ago I thought I was the only one smelling it.”
It’s when she posted on social media about the smell, several friends noticed it as well. For the past year, she and her husband have gotten a whiff of “rotten eggs” every morning. She said the smell lasts for 45 minutes to an hour and heads north, “if that makes sense.”
“We always wait for the smell to dissipate to walk the dogs,” Ms. DiCaprio said. “I mentioned it to other friends in DeLand who all have their own experiences with it.”
The DeLand Wastewater Plant is on South Amelia Avenue.
Chris Graham, the city's community information specialist, said the plant could be the culprit.
“On some days, when the wind is blowing a certain way, we can smell it at City Hall,” he said. “It’s possible that it could be smelled in that area – treating sewage is essentially all it is.”
Common odors in and around treatment plants may include rotten eggs, ammonia or garlic, according to WaterWorld.com.
“Generally speaking, foul odors at treatment plants originate from the anaerobic decomposition of organic compounds. A natural by-product of anaerobic digestion is hydrogen sulfide (H2S), which gives off a strong, nauseating smell. Due to its low solubility in wastewater, it is released into the atmosphere, producing an offensive odor.”
Mr. Graham said the odor could be occurring for other reasons, such irrigation from a private well, Florida’s groundwater, which sometimes has a sulfuric smell, or nearby lift stations, which pump waste and sewage to a higher elevation.
“It’s my understanding that the city has 125 lift stations throughout the city,” he said. “That’s likely what they are smelling. Depending where the wind is blowing, different areas could smell that.”
Mr. Graham said there are lift stations near both locations where the DiCarpios lived. He said city public utility workers would check it out.