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What's that smell in Grand Ledge and Delta Twp?

Posted at 8:44 PM, Dec 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-24 04:56:23-05

LANSING, Mich. — Several people in Grand Ledge and Delta Township have complained about a foul odor that's been around for the past two weeks.

The cause? Rotting radishes.

"Instead of tilling the soil and creating more erosion, a lot of farmers use the daikon radish," said Rick Jones, who knows the farmer who planted the radishes. "Now this radish has a big tap root, it aerates the soil."

The radish is also a tasty snack for deer.

Those who live nearby don't share the same affection for the decaying vegetable.

"To anybody coming to our area, especially for the holidays, welcome to Delta or Grand Ledge or Eaton County. Come smell us!" said Brigid Schlossberg.

Delta Township Manager Brian Reed says people were calling thinking there was a problem with the sewer.

Reed says the Delta Township Utility Department traced the smell back to a farm that's using the radishes as cover crop.

Others are saying they are smelling propane or natural gas.

"A neighbor called Consumers power. They came out. They did two inspections with two different machines, didn't see a gas leak," said Schlossberg.

Officials say that warmer than average weather may be making the odor worse because the radishes usually die off in the winter.

However, with high temperatures above freezing, the smell will likely linger for a while.

According to the American Society of Agronomy, it takes several nights of temperatures below 25 degrees to kill the radishes.

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