Foul Smell Like 'Rotten Eggs' Reported Across Memphis: Residents

Over the weekend, several residents of Memphis reported a foul odor spreading across the city.

Many locals in the midtown and downtown areas complained about the unpleasant smell on social media, likening it to rotten eggs or sulfur, WMC Action News 5 reported.

The source of the smell was difficult to determine, and Memphians in homes and offices in the affected areas all had their own ideas about the cause.

"I was wondering if my car was emitting a smell," one resident, Karyn Klinger, wrote on Facebook.

Another, Rain Creekmore, said: "Sewage would be my most-likely assumption of what it was."

Meanwhile, some worried that the scent could potentially put people off coming to the city.

"That's not a good thing, especially with Memphis growing, and we want people to come here," resident Denisa Charles told WREG. "We have to do something about that. We need to find out what the source is and get it fixed."

"We need to stimulate our own economy. Stimulate our own city. And to be able to do that we can't have things such as a stench in the air, not making people want to live here," Charles said.

Robert Knecht, director of public works for the city, said that he was aware of the issue and the source was being investigated.

"I received information concerning strong odors this morning and have asked our environmental maintenance staff to investigate this," he told WMC on Saturday. "As these locations are not near one of the two wastewater treatment plants we would then check the sanitary sewer collection system to see if it is the cause."

"We also communicate with Memphis Light, Gas and Water [MLGW] as they use mercaptan to add a rotten egg odor to the natural gas they distribute," he said.

For their part, MLGW said they were not responsible for the foul odor spreading across the city, and instead suggested that it could be coming from a potential mercaptan delivery at Excel TSD—a local hazardous waste disposal facility southwest of downtown—WREG reported.

However, while Excel admitted that they used the compound, they argued that they didn't have sufficient quantities to cause such a widespread foul smell across such large areas of the city.

While the smell was noticeable on Friday and Saturday morning, by midday it had largely dissipated, according to WMC.