Spring Thaw and Foul Odours

During late winter and early spring the soil may undergo multiple freeze/thaw cycles.  The ground becomes saturated with water, and the oxygen in the soil may become depleted.  This condition is called anaerobic and may lead to the anaerobic decay of organic matter, such as leaves and grass.  Normally the surface of the soil has plenty of oxygen to support aerobic decay (oxygen present), which its odours can be described as a more pleasant “earthy” smell, odours that we may experience when planting in our gardens. 

When leaves and grass decay anaerobically, an unpleasant odour may result.  This odour becomes more apparent as people and animals walk and play on these areas, resulting in the odours being released and absorbed onto clothing and foot wear. 

These conditions have not been associated with human illness however some people may find the odours quite nauseous.  When removed from the foul smell symptoms usually go away.

Children and pets should keep away from these areas until the ground becomes dry or the odours are no longer present.   Normal laundering of clothing should remove any foul odours.