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A Solution for a San Diego Cove’s Constant Odor: Bacteria

Depending upon whom you ask, the smell that has plagued La Jolla Cove has been “putrid,” “noxious” or “like the East River used to smell,” for quite a while. Nose-pinching is commonplace.

But now, the stench of bird guano emanating from the cliffs in the seaside neighborhood has become, officially speaking, a public health emergency.

“Cormorants, gulls, pigeons, pelicans and other animals have fouled the area,” Mayor Bob Filner wrote last month in a memo, declaring a state of emergency. “Physical disease and discomfort may result to humans if emergency action is not taken.”

City officials believe they finally have a solution: guano-eating bacteria. And so, early each morning this week, workers lowered themselves onto the rocks with ropes and applied a solution made up of seven kinds of bacteria that digest animal feces.

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