At least four York County communities were inundated with a powerful stench Wednesday, local officials said.

The smell, which they said resembled manure or raw sewage, apparently came from a farm off Route 111 near Hill Road in Arundel, although public safety and elected officials said they did not know – or would not disclose – the exact source.

“All I heard is that a farm on Route 111 was dressing the fields, and that the smell would go away in a day or two,” said Velma Jones Hayes, vice chair of the Arundel Board of Selectmen. “That smell today was stronger than anything I think I ever smelled.”

The stink reportedly stretched well into Biddeford and Saco and even reached sensitive noses as far away as Old Orchard Beach.

“We have fielded a lot of calls today from our residents about a smell,” said Biddeford fire Lt. Eric Wheeler. “Oh yeah, I can smell it … It smells like manure.”

Biddeford Mayor Alan Casavant said the smell was “everywhere,” and it’s not the first time that unfortunate winds have blown such a stench into his city.

“The word I got was that it was uncooked, unprocessed compost, whatever that means,” he said. “This has been somewhat of an ongoing problem.”

Casavant said he was told that the Arundel code enforcement office and the Department of Environmental Protection both visited the undisclosed farm on Wednesday. Still, he had received no assurances that the smell would abate.

Jones Hayes said the town does not have many farms anymore, and she was not aware of any major complaints from residents about smells in the past.

Still, a York County Sheriff’s deputy who asked not to be named said that stretch of Route 111 is known for its occasional odor problems.

“That’s not a new situation down there,” he said.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

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Twitter: @jcraiganderson