What’s that smell? Something’s causing a city to smell like a litter box

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NEW CASTLE, Pa. — Residents are hoping tests on air samples can explain why their western Pennsylvania city smells like cat urine.

New Castle residents began noticing the smell Nov. 1 in the city about 45 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. The New Castle News says the smell is still lingering near a sewage treatment plant in the city’s Mahoningtown neighborhood.

Some who live there are worried. “It scares me because we don’t know what it is, and we are breathing it in every day,” Amberlynn Enos told WKBN earlier this month. “It is frustrating because I have a not even 2-year-old. The river is right down there.”“As you breathed it in, you could just feel it burning your throat,” resident Lisa McConnell said.

State environmental officials don’t believe the odor is harmful, but they don’t yet know what’s causing it.

A spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection says on-site monitoring didn’t detect any hazardous substances in the air.

But tests on air samples to determine what’s causing the smell will take weeks to complete. The DEP is also testing wastewater to determine whether it’s causing the smell.