GONZALES — A stinky smell reported from Bayou Manchac last week stems from stagnant swamp water in Spanish Lake that heavy rains pushed into the bayou, state environmental regulators said Monday.
Rodney Mallett, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality spokesman, said in an email Monday that inspectors reached that conclusion “by tracking the flow of the water, visual observations and some field parameters.”
“We did confirm that the odoriferous water as stagnated water washed through Alligator Bayou to Bayou Manchac due to excessive rains,” Mallett wrote.
The same phenomenon has occurred a few times a year for the past three to four years, DEQ officials say.
Alligator Bayou drains Spanish Lake into Bayou Manchac through a floodgate in Iberville Parish. The bayou runs along the borders of East Baton Rouge, Ascension and Iberville parishes to the Amite River.
On Monday, Jonathan Scott, president of Bayou Manchac Group, a group tracking the bayou’s health disputed DEQ’s conclusions.
He said what he smelled on the bayou has the distinct odor of wastewater. He said he plans to try to find the source of what he believes is a sewer overflow after the next major rain.
“It’s just disheartening. It’s going to continue until the residents go and find the leak,” said Scott, an environmental engineer who also is a certified wastewater treatment operator for the petrochemical industry.
The DEQ officials said few plants discharge into the basin, but Scott provided a list of more than 100 plants with discharges that he said ultimately wind up in the basin.