For years, residents have filed complaints with the North Carolina Office of Environmental Quality regarding an acrid stench frequently likened to that of cat piss. It's been so bad at times that one woman reports that she has been forced to turn off the heat or air conditioning just to prevent it from coming into her home. One man claimed that he "nearly smothers" himself with a freshly Febreze-d pillow whenever it's overwhelming.
The smell got so bad over Thanksgiving weekend this year that more than a dozen complaints poured in to local officials. A supervisor with the North Carolina Department of Air Quality even drafted an official memo admitting that he could smell a "faint cat odor" in the area, which prompted an investigation that initially traced the smell to an area plastics factory. However, that theory has since been debunked, and the awful aroma's origins remain a mystery.
According to local media, many believe the source of the smell to be a combination of factors, including both fumes from nearby factories and "swamp gas." Experts also think it's exacerbated when the temp drops and the cooler, denser air traps the smell closer to the ground. And while many are primarily concerned by how the rampant stink affects quality of life, others are troubled by the idea that it might also be dangerous and toxic to humans.
Officials say they are continuing their search for the offensive odor's origin or origins, and are encouraging locals to call in when they smell it. But until it's all figured out and addressed, it's safe to assume Febreze is selling well in Wilmington.
h/t The News & Observer