"I can't believe there hasn't been any stories in regards to the foul odor that is covering Mission Viejo, CA like an airborne bacteria," writes a reader named Cori.
"(Well . . . actually, in this Prozac laden city of Stepford, I'm surprised when anyone notices anything outside the 'norm.') The only information I've found about it is from a local blogger."
The local blogger would be Finky the Kid, who writes (the bold emphasis being his): "Mission Viejo, CA stinks. I mean, it reeks to high heaven. There is a sulphurous odor so malignant and intrusive, it has enveloped the neighborhood and penetrated the walls of my house for nearly 48 hours."
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Finky and, uh, Mrs. Kid first noticed the smell a couple days before Halloween near the intersection at El Toro Road and Rancho Santa Margarita Parkway. The farther they drove, the worse it got--and it even followed them home! They pulled their car into their garage and closed the door to escape an odor they likened to rotten eggs.
The fact that Finky was able to post something after the fact confirms he shut off the car's engine once they reached the inside of the garage. But you wouldn't blame him for at least contemplating doing himself in based on his search for stinking answers.
He was finally led to the Santa Margarita Water District, which had apparently received several calls from residents before investigating and coming up with the following explanation:
The recent cold weather spell has affected the Upper Oso Reservoir. During the summer the lake splits into two layers of water. The top layer is warmer during the summer and maintains adequate levels of oxygen, but at the expense of the bottom of lake. The bottom of the lake has cooler water and stays isolated with low levels of oxygen. During autumn, the upper layer of water gets cold, and eventually sinks to the bottom, raising the bottom water. This year the recent cold spell came with strong winds that mixed the water suddenly creating conditions that caused an algae bloom which used up the oxygen which resulted in odors. The District has responded by adding additional equipment in the lake to help return the oxygen levels to normal. The situation does not pose any health risks and the reservoir should return to normal within the next several days.
So there you have it: a stinkin' algae bloom. Not that knowing that helps ease the minds--and nostrils--of those who have to endure the offending odor. Those like Finky, who was given no estimate as to when the smell would be gone. He laments, "Sadly, this story has no ending yet in sight." Or smell.