Phoenix residents along canals concerned about foul-stench

PHOENIX - Phoenix residents are upset over a foul stench coming from Valley canals.

Alyssa Shevlin lives along the canal near 7th Avenue and Camelback Road, and said there was an all-out foul stench coming from the water on Thanksgiving Day. 

"It was immediate, stomach turning.. not a Thanksgiving smell at all," said Shevlin. 

There's a water control gate near Shevlin's house and trash tends to back up at that spot. She assumed the floating island of garbage was the odor offender. 

"It smelled like there were decomposing bodies," said Shevlin.

But that's actually a lot closer to the truth. 

Supposedly, according to Salt River Project Environmental Engineer Brian Moorhead, the stench is actually the pungent perfume of dead and decomposing algae.

"[It's] starting to rot and decompose, and generally that produces a bad odor," said Moorhead. 

Moorhead said when the water temp drops this time of year blue green algae dies, rises to the top, and forms a floating foulness that backs up at the control gates. 

'We do have canal maintenance people, driving the canals, trying to make sure those gates get flushed," said Moorhead.

SRP also puts White Amur fish in the canals to eat the water plants. 

"They don't really like the blue green algae so much... It kind of stinks, so they prefer to avoid it," said Moorhead. 

That means the only thing to do is wait for the algae to die off and float down the canal. 

Normally that happens by mid-December, but with a warmer than usual November, the stinky smell could be hanging around the canals for another few weeks. 

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