Mysterious bad smell haunting the city of Aalst

A dozen streets in the city of Aalst, halfway between Ghent and Brussels, have been haunted by a bad smell for a couple of days now. The stench seems to come from the sewage system, but experts are confronted with a mystery since they can't solve the issue.
© Zoonar/P.Marcinski -

The first complaints surfaced last Tuesday. Local residents at the Brusselsesteenweg were talking of a bad smell similar to that of natural gas, but experts couldn't find a gas leak.

With the sewage system being among the usual suspects in bad smell issues, the city had the sewerage system cleaned, but the bad smell keeps lingering. "If we clean sewage pipes somewhere, the stench just emerges in a different place", Burgomaster Christophe D'Haese told the VRT. "We are now sure it comes from the underground drain pipes, but we haven't found the exact cause yet. We also had samples taken."

D'Haese underlines there is no danger for public health, but admits that the stench is "a real nuisance". Since the news emerged and was made public, the number of complaints has fallen, but fire services received over a hundred in a couple of days.