By Velena Jones

NATOMAS (CBS13) — A stinky situation is taking over a Natomas neighborhood. Residents looking for answers have described the smell as sewage or manure.

Neighbors started getting a whiff of the smelly scent after last weekend’s storm.

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“I’ve smelled some pretty bad smells in my lifetime but I’m like, ‘Yeah, my kids are not going to be playing over here,’” explained resident Mark Luna.

Mark Luna visits the San Juan Reservoir Park with his family weekly but Thursday their trip was cut short.

“We noticed as soon as we got out of the car that it smelled like sewer and we didn’t know what was going on. We thought it was a sewage leak or something,” he said

The smell is so strong, neighbor Kirk Wadi had to pause for a moment after breathing it in. Wadi said he witnessed a company cutting large amounts of high grass in the area that later fell in the water. He wonders if the two are connected.

“I’m getting a whiff of decomposing grass,” Wadi explained. “You have this grass, this foliage, and it’s sitting in the water for months now and it petrifies.”

The city of Sacramento uses the basin at the park to store stormwater. It’s designed to naturally break down oils, fertilizers and other materials before entering the river.

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“We need to improve the quality of the stormwater before it goes into the basins and it’s a detention basin, that way it holds it there and that way nature can do its work and break down some of those materials,” explained Carlos Eliason, Sacramento Department of Utilities spokesperson. “We also do want them to be an amenity. Obviously, we want them to look relatively pleasant and we don’t want them to smell.”

So, what’s creating the mysterious stink? Eliason explained it could be a couple of things, but he believes last weekend’s storm could be the trigger.

“Because we did have a historic amount of rain after a historic amount of dry period you could see some of those decaying materials, organic materials, causing some of that unpleasant odor,” he said.

Weather could also be playing a factor in the smell.

“Whenever you have decaying natural material it can sometimes produce an odor, it’s been a little bit warm in the few days since we had that storm and so that can change an unpleasant odor can increase it a little bit. It’s also been sunny so that can add to those factors,” explained Eliason.

The city plans to send staff out to the site to investigate the smell. Staff will be looking to see if any entry or exit points of the basin are blocked and contributing to the stink.

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Neighbors are encouraged to call 3-1-1 to report any strange smells.

Velena Jones