Something didn’t smell right in Saratoga Springs on Wednesday.
People coming to work were checking their feet to make sure they hadn’t stepped in something.
The city Department of Public Works was getting calls most of the day to see if a sewer main had ruptured, especially on the city’s West Side, causing the foul odor.
At Saratoga Hospital on Church Street the odor was strong and hospital officials checked with the building’s facilities director to see if something had gone wrong with the ventilation or other hospital systems.
“It was nothing in the hospital,” said Ellen Kerness, a hospital spokeswoman.
Hospital officials called City Hall to see if the smell was caused by the city’s sewer system. Tim Cogan, deputy DPW commissioner, said there were no problems with sewer pumping stations or mains in the city.
“It’s a farmer on West Avenue,” said Kelly Gliosco, a clerk in the Public Works Department. The farmer was spreading or had spread chicken manure on fields across from Saratoga Springs High School and the wind was coming out of the south, spreading the odor across the city, she said.
“I’ve had calls from all over the city,” Gliosco said. But, “They do it every year,” she said about the spreading of chicken manure.
The people who lease the Pitney farm property on West Avenue are associated with Thomas Poultry Farm near Schuylerville.
“The poultry litter is high in nitrogen,” said farmer John Vincek, who owns a farm on Smith Bridge Road in Wilton. He said this material is tilled into the soil and helps corn grow.
Vincek said this is the time of the year when farmers spread manure and compost on their fields. He uses a combination of composted leaves, waste from local horse stables and waste from his turkeys to spread on his fields in Wilton.
The farmers quickly plow under the material so it does the maximum good for the soil. Once the chicken manure is plowed into the fields the smell should be gone.