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What is that smell?

Posted by Geeky Swedes on September 28th, 2010

Briana emailed us about a “pungent broccoli-type smell when biking over the Ballard Bridge and down around Trader Joe’s.” She says she’s smelled it the last few days. Does anyone know what the smell is?

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60 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 Stimes // Sep 28, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    your ass?

  • 2 Bordello Holes // Sep 28, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    It’s not me!

  • 3 Vancgirl // Sep 28, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    dude. really? grow up.

  • 4 Barfly // Sep 28, 2010 at 10:56 pm


  • 5 Jon // Sep 28, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Probably that Soil Exchange company that got put in on the corner months ago.

  • 6 ballardsharryn // Sep 28, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    maybe Mike’s chili is making Broccoli chili for vegetarians!

  • 7 Snuttons // Sep 28, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Is it the broccoli farm below the bridge?

  • 8 Bark // Sep 28, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    My wife’s cooking?

  • 9 Firstchurchofbnl // Sep 28, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    I thought it was that awful lake of standing water across from Edith’s house.

  • 10 Rocker20 // Sep 28, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    Its obviously the BCoC.

  • 11 sammy // Sep 28, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    There actually is a strong smell throughout that area, but it’s not brocolli. It does smell like standing water–almost sewage.

  • 12 kzam // Sep 29, 2010 at 12:03 am

    Yes – I noticed it too over the weekend while riding on the burke-gilman. It’s really bad. PS Clean Air Agency is charged w/ looking into odor complaints. I’ll call their # and suggest others do to if the stench lingers…..

  • 13 Nipkrank // Sep 29, 2010 at 1:25 am

    I’m with Jon.

    Chances are good it’s the Soil Exchange. I’ve notice compost stockpiled there before – some smelling not so good.

  • 14 Anonymous // Sep 29, 2010 at 2:15 am

    It’s not the fertilizer place. If you ever catch a bus at 15th & Leary, the fertilizer place smells strongly… of fertilizer.

    This is different, and noxious, and can be smelled from anywhere on or near the Ballard Bridge.

  • 15 Mary Beth // Sep 29, 2010 at 2:29 am

    I live in Wedgwood and I’ve smelled it the last couple of days too. I thought I was imagining things. So glad that you posted this. But it seems as though it’s bigger than Ballard if it’s also all the way over here.

  • 16 BallardBasement // Sep 29, 2010 at 2:32 am

    Peeee-ewwww! Generally when we get this smell in Loyal Heights we attribute it to the sewage plant in Magnolia…. but Wedgewood?

  • 17 cthomas // Sep 29, 2010 at 2:50 am

    We live just north of the 24th ave QFC and we’ve smelled it for a few days also. It smells similar to the stench of paper mills in Longview. Maybe it’s a sign that everyone should actually scrub the compost bins at least once a season?

  • 18 lazy // Sep 29, 2010 at 3:16 am

    What is there number for the lazy?

  • 19 foo // Sep 29, 2010 at 4:08 am

    Yes, I’ve smelled it over in the west edge of Ballard, especially last night in the humidity – it reminded me of The Aroma Of Tacoma, the pulp mill smell. Or when the bark piles at Carpinito’s Brothers go bad. Or when a now-gone neighbor would burn his trash.

    I wondered if it was the pre-trash-day stench of cans at the curb, multiplied by the humidity …

  • 20 Tim // Sep 29, 2010 at 4:29 am

    When the wind blows just right, we here in the Ballard area catch a whiff of the sewage treatment plant in Magnolia’s Discovery Park. It happens — When I was younger I lived a few miles from a pig farm. On a hot summer day, when the wind was just right —- wow.

  • 21 AtWorkCat // Sep 29, 2010 at 5:29 am

    This is news?

  • 22 AtWorkCat // Sep 29, 2010 at 5:29 am

    This is news?

  • 23 Lalala // Sep 29, 2010 at 7:39 am

    It is the rotting carcASSes of all the trolls on the forum and comments.

    News?-It is a neighborhood blog. Go watch glen beck DB.

  • 24 Nipkrank // Sep 29, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    This is a comment?

  • 25 Guest // Sep 29, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Pretty sure it’s coming from the fish processor “Alaskan Venturer,” which is moored just East of the Ballard Bridge. It came into town last week and from the ship canal it looks like all the hatches and holds are open, and it smells awful! Maybe they are airing it out after processing fish all summer.

  • 26 Foghorn Leghorn // Sep 29, 2010 at 3:47 pm


  • 27 Foghorn Leghorn // Sep 29, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Ah that smell takes me back, back to Old Ballard. The Good Ballard. A simpler time of buggy whips and box socials, of cold water flats and cholera. Where packs of rosy-cheeked children roamed the streets without a care in the world, merrily pickpocketing wealthy men-about-town in their sealskin tophats.

    You see, not many people know this but back at the turn of the last century Ballard was home to a wave of Italian immigrants, who came as part of the Great Spaghetti Rush. Naturally, they brought with them their treasured native foods. No one in Seattle had ever seen a tomato before! Oh there was such a celebration when people discovered you could eat them, and not just use them as a very ineffective substitute for bleach.

    Am0ng those suspicious rarities was a green, nobbly, mysterious vegetable. We now know it as the humble broccoli. The center of Italo-Ballardian broccoli cultivation was based around the future site of the Ballard Bridge, and it became a booming business. At the time Broccoli was often used as packing material for the salmon fleet, as a suppressant for “base urges”, and as an industrial lubricant. Unfortunately, time passes and the future marches ever on. The Ballard bridge trampled the Broccoli Grounds when it was constructed in 1917. Nevertheless, to this day descendants of the original broccoli farmers secretly plant their broccoli around the bridge, as a form of remembrance. Yearning for a time when Ballard was known by its old nickname:

    Brassica Junction.

  • 28 kirsten // Sep 29, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    I row in the evenings down the ship canel towards the locks, and I’ve been smelling this odor for almost a month now. It’s especially strong around the Fisherman’s terminal and concentrated in one area, so I assumed it was a fish processor or a boat. I’m definitely sick of it – it’s extremely pungent on the water. During one practice my teammate almost puked because of it.

  • 29 Gates // Sep 29, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    I lol’d.

  • 30 marmot // Sep 29, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    That would make sense. We’re in northeast Ballard — the wind blows directly at us from where you say that boat is, and for the last week or so the air has smelled like stinky dead fish. I was wondering if something died under our front porch.

  • 31 Silver // Sep 29, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    It smells like raw sewage to me. Like a pipe broke or something.

  • 32 Mass_rad // Sep 29, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    it’s my new cologne :(

  • 33 Lexicon Grrl // Sep 29, 2010 at 11:21 pm


    …uff da!

  • 34 Kizmi69azz // Sep 30, 2010 at 2:37 am

    Mike’s Tavern!

  • 35 KIZMI69AZZ // Sep 30, 2010 at 2:43 am

    They have amazing hOMEMADE FOOD AND LIVE MUSIC!!!!!!!!!!

  • 36 Hgfg // Sep 30, 2010 at 4:55 am

    Mars Hill?

  • 37 Ben Wiseley // Oct 2, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    On NW wind days it smells like a pulp mill (Everett).

  • 38 Spotted Dogs // Oct 4, 2010 at 2:06 am

    It smells like poop from the bridge all the way up to Crown Hill where we live.

  • 39 Bordello Holes // Oct 7, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Yes. Noxious odors that linger and penetrate entire neighborhoods are news.

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