A foul smell in public is sparking concern from many community members in the Iona area of Lee County, specifically close to the Sanibel Outlets.
Everyone we spoke to Wednesday hoped the smell would not follow them home by sticking to their clothes.
“Dead plants. Dead animals,” Mary Faegere said.
“It’s like a bathroom,” Gonzalo Caranza said.
“Rotting absolute garbage,” Kaylee Hansen-Haggard said.
Some of the blame is being placed on red tide.
“In Peru, you have a bad sewer system in some areas, and this is exactly the same smell that you have here all the time,” Caranza said.
“Today, I could smell it in the store, which is crazy because I work at Bath & Body Works,” Hansen-Haggard said. “And you shouldn’t be able to smell rotting flesh inside of a Bath & Bodyworks.”
Hansen-Haggard says the longer the sun is out, the more intense the smell gets. She ran from the store to her car to escape the smell she says has lingered around the area for about a week.
“You walk in there, and the scents all hit you in the face,” Hansen-Haggard said. “But now you get hit on the face on the way out.”
Lee County says it could be from decaying biomass from the saltwater flats, but some of the people we spoke to said it’s almost always funky in this part of town.
“This is something about the sewer,” Caranza said. “I am sure that something is failing in this place.”
“We live with it,” Faegere said.
The ultimate cause of the smell remains unconfirmed. Regardless, people hope the problem is fixed soon.
“Oh, it just makes you sick to your stomach,” Faegere said. “It’s rotten. Yeah. It’s bad.”