ALLIGATOR BAYOU, LA (WAFB) - There is a foul odor in the air over Alligator Bayou that has everybody talking. It is normal during the summer, but the Department of Environmental Quality said this year they really have a smelly situation on their hands.
DEQ reports they have gotten a lot of complaints, mostly from homeowners. However, there are also athletes who train out there. They are faced with the obstacle of pressing through it.
They are on their mark, set for a fifteen mile ride, and going for a two mile run to train for Duathalon season. About a dozen athletes filed in line over the locks at Alligator Bayou. It is a familiar course for the riders. However, lately they have noticed something strange as they peddle the distance.
"The smell has really gotten foul. The water is greener," Mike Abshire said.
Abshire has been burning rubber there for close to ten years. He said in the last two weeks the smell from the bayou has gotten really bad.
"I was out here the week before last and I noticed it. It wasn't really as bad as today and last week it was much worse, this week a lot worse," Abshire said.
It is hard to ignore.
"Sewage. It smells like sewage," sightseer Russell Nicholas said.
Nicholas said he normally comes to Alligator Bayou to fish. However, he said, he won't be throwing his line into the pool of black water. He is simply observing Mother Nature as she takes her course.
"Very disturbing. It's peaceful and quiet out here. Just to have it messed up like this is bad," Nicholas said.
It does stink, but DEQ Communications Director, Rodney Mallet said there is nothing to worry about. He said the same thing happens every year when the water level goes down and the temperatures rise.
"When there's no flow in the water and the water has been sitting for a while, you'll get all the organic matter from the swamp. It will start to decay and suck on the oxygen and that's what's causing the smell. It's not hazardous, but some people get irritated because of odors," Mallet said.
It can be challenging, but these dedicated athletes said it won't cloud their focus on the finish.
"Yeah, I will be breathing through my mouth. So, I really don't smell it that much," Clayton Weeks said.
While you may not want to fish the water, Mallet said there are no chemicals that raise concern in the water. He said the conditions at Alligator Bayou will improve when the weather changes.