Bacteria Sprayed to Eradicate Bird Odor in La Jolla

The smell of feces by the shoreline should be gone after the cleanup process

After months of complaints and debate, the smell at one of San Diego's most popular tourist destinations may be a bit more pleasant.

After an accumulation of bird droppings left an unwanted scent near the La Jolla shoreline, a cleanup process began Monday that will hopefully eliminate the unwanted odor.

The smell reduction involves spraying bacteria to eat away the bird poop. It's a 10-day, $50,000 process being run by a group called Blue Eagle. Crews will work to spread a certain kind of bacteria on the rocks, and biologists say the majority of the smell should be gone in a couple hours.

The long-awaited cleanup of the La Jolla Cove has locals ready for some fresh air. For months, the pervasive stench has been so bad, restaurants near the coast claimed it discouraged diners from eating there.

“The clean-up is an A+ on my list,” said Anton Marek from Goldfish Point Café.

It took many hurdles to get the plan in place. First, people had to wait for the bird’s nesting season to end. Then permits were obtained so that none of the product sprayed on the feces ends up in the water.

Mayor Bob Filner even called the problem a health and safety issue to get an exception from federal authorities.

“We’ve spent the last two weeks testing and we think it’s going to work,” he said.

But the big question ahead is: What happens when the birds come back? Filner said they’d have to look at a more long-term plan.

About a decade ago, the city put up a fence for safety reasons to get people off the rocks. Since then, birds took over, creating the mess.

If the fence stays, Filner said the city will have to look into another solution. He said the city can't keep spending money to clean the rocks every couple months.

“Unless there are people out there the way it has been for decades and decades, we’re going to have this problem,” he said.

Locals are happy to have the smell leave, but at the same time some said it’s only natural.

“I come to see the view. The smell comes with it… I ignore the smell,” said one visitor.

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