The smell is in the air — but local officials say there seems to be nothing to worry about.
Havre residents have been noticing in the past few weeks a sulfurous smell in the air, especially in the early morning, reminiscent of sewage.
Hill County Planner and Sanitarian Clay Vincent said the odor appears to be a byproduct of the extremely wet spring weather. Water is standing in places not seen normally and is causing vegetation to rot.
“We’ve run into this before. It’s nothing for people to be concerned with, ” he said.
The city and county employees have checked their infrastructure and made sure none of that is causing the odor.
The smell, noticeable in downtown and uptown Havre and in Highland Park, usually during the calm periods of the morning, is likely due to the organic material decomposing. Vincent said that is common in an area west of Havre, known as Stink Lake, where several springs often put water over vegetation early in the spring.
“It just stinks out there, ” Vincent said.
With water accumulating in lakes, ponds and reservoirs, putting them above normal levels, and in coulees, valleys and depressions where normally there is no water, it is going to cause the rotting odor, Vincent said.
“When the wind is not blowing those bogs, you might say … it creates this sewer-type smell, ” he said.
Because of the amount of moisture in the area, the smell is likely to be much stronger and widespread than usual — and last much later in the season.
“It’s just going to be that way for a while, ” Vincent said.