Foul smell around Richmond is driving some locals bonkers

What is that foul smell in the air that comes and goes with a simple change in wind direction?

It’s a question on the mind of quite a few Richmond residents.

“Be advised that there is a strong odour in Steveston, from Railway/Moncton to No. 2 Road and Williams,” wrote one local resident on Monday in a fax to The Richmond Review. “It has been getting worse.”

Wrote another local via e-mail: “How would I go about...having someone report in the news about the stink in Richmond? Does no one else smell it? I never see comments in the paper about it. Yet Richmond, especially the southwestern part of the city, seems to continually stink. It is a nauseating smell, comes and goes, has been for years, but lately it’s been every day or night, an hour here, an hour there.”

The Review also heard complaints from residents in Terra Nova and East Richmond about the odour.

Earlier this year, The Review wrote about the litany of complaints to Metro Vancouver.

Of the dozens of complaints this year handled by Metro Vancouver, 27 were confirmed as the result of Harvest Power—formerly Fraser Richmond Soil and Fibre—located at the foot of No. 7 Road, along Blundell Road. Harvest Power takes yard and food waste from the city and composts it, turning it into energy.

Don Miller, senior officer with Metro Vancouver’s environmental regulation and enforcement division, said investigators from Metro Vancouver rely primarily on wind direction from meteorological recordings to identify the sources of those complaints.

“It’s always best to get the information as fresh as possible to us. Calling us right away is best,” he said.

He said when a complaint comes in, the caller is asked about what they suspect is the source of the smell. Once that source has been confirmed, or written off, that’s the end of the investigation, Miller said, because of the lack of further resources.

If investigators are able to make it out to the area and get a whiff of the smell themselves, there’s other things they can do to trace the source.

Locals who have a complaint about a foul smell should call Metro Vancouver at 604-436-6777 or file a complaint online with Metro Vancouver at

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