IT’S BACK: Fauntleroy ‘stench’ returns; here’s how to deal with it


(WSB file photo of Fauntleroy Cove, looking toward Lincoln Park)

The infamous Fauntleroy “stench” is back, reports Judy Pickens from the Fauntleroy Community Association:

Since the early 1980s, rotting sea lettuce in Fauntleroy Cove has generated hydrogen sulfide gas (aka “the stench”) in the heat of summer. It inexplicably stopped about nine years ago and residents and visitors could breathe easy. Now, even after weeks of relatively cool weather, it’s back.

With hot days ahead, the following advice is offered to newcomers and long-term residents wanting to enjoy summer despite the stench:

– Keep a tide table handy or bookmark a table online so you can anticipate when low tide will be; sea lettuce emits the gas when low tide leaves it stranded on the beach.
– Close all windows and skylights when you first notice the acrid smell.
– Stay indoors until the air seems fresh again.
– Use a fan to blow out your bedroom before sleeping; the invisible gas is heavy and needs a push.
– Leave home for awhile if the smell is especially strong.

Remember: It’s not simply the smell of saltwater. It’s a noxious gas that can cause itchy eyes, headache, and nausea.

And the midday low tide is low indeed these next six days – here’s our favorite chart. P.S. Here’s a little more backstory.

6 Replies to "IT'S BACK: Fauntleroy 'stench' returns; here's how to deal with it"

  • Daniel July 10, 2018 (2:05 pm)

    Wow never heard about this and I do pretty much daily walks at Lincoln park.. I do seem to recall a brief smell one of the times. Maybe the neighborhood that lives near it can get together to reduce it a bit. It shouldn’t be eliminated completely though.. decay and regrowth is just a natural process of life. In fact all of us are the elemental products of decaying stars in the universe ;)

    • Jethro Marx July 10, 2018 (3:35 pm)

      Are we “…made of the dust/of a thousand stars…?” Perhaps; so says Mikey Mike the Rad Scientist in song, but in fact the science of origin is still somewhat up in the air. At any rate, we rarely find elemental compounds in nature; we are rather a complicated amalgam of complicated aggregate particles, if I may get poetic about it.

  • NW July 10, 2018 (6:11 pm)

    Staying the heck away regardless of the tide. 

  • I'm Here July 10, 2018 (7:36 pm)

    That must have been the stench in the Junction about noon today.

  • S July 10, 2018 (10:16 pm)

    That’s a bit dramatic. The smell won’t reach concentrations that cause the symptoms listed. Welcome to the summer intertidal in Puget Sound.

  • Judy July 24, 2018 (8:03 am)

    Tell that to my head and eyes and throat and lungs!  I suggest that persons who comment know something about the topic they’re commenting about.

Sorry, comment time is over.