The Northwest Clean Air Agency responded Thursday afternoon to reports of a strong odor in the Ferndale area that led to the evacuation of local schools.
NWCAA received a call from an area resident at 1:37 p.m. about a strong sulfur smell similar to the odor of natural gas. The caller said the source appeared to be the Phillips 66 refinery at 3901 Unick Road, Ferndale. Two other calls were received about a strong sulfur odor in the area.
A NWCAA inspector contacted a Phillips official and was told that an upset in the refining process caused a strong sulfur odor on site, which dissipated by mid-afternoon.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data show that following the upset at Phillips, winds were blowing toward the area where the callers live and the schools are located.
A NWCAA inspector dispatched to the area could not locate and verify a source for the odor. Other responding agencies also were not able to verify a source.