Lake County

What’s that smell? Mount Dora residents search for source of mystery stench

MOUNT DORA, Fla. — People in communities on the Lake County-Orange County line are up in arms about a foul smell they say is becoming unbearable.

Some of the complaints are coming from the area near Sullivan Ranch, but no one seems to be able to say for certain where the sewage smell is coming from.


The mayor of Mount Dora said last month that she could smell it in downtown, about 3 miles from there and that it’s unacceptable.

Meisha Santagata said her beautiful neighborhood, Sullivan Ranch, and other neighborhoods near Mount Dora and Tangerine are dealing with a foul smell.

Read: Questions raised over permit for Mount Dora medical marijuana plant producing ‘atrocious smell’

“It permeates into the house, and then the smell stays there all day. I mean, I can open the windows, I can light candles, it just the smell does not want to get out of home,” she said.

She said the smell comes and goes at different times, and it’s something that’s been a problem since she moved in nine years ago, but that it’s gotten worse in the last year.

Read: ‘Deplorable’: Man Tased by Mount Dora police sergeant speaks out

Another neighbor said it’s been really bad for the past week.

Mount Dora officials are pointing the finger at a nearby landfill run by Mid Florida Materials.

The mayor sent a statement saying: “The City of Mount Dora is working with the owner of the landfill to mitigate the smell, however only the FDEP (Department of Environmental Protection) would be able to take further action.”

Read: Investigation provides insight into Mount Dora police chief’s sudden resignation

In emails from the DEP, investigators have told residents it could be anything from a lift station to a wastewater treatment plant, and as recently as last month, said there was an ongoing investigation.

Residents said they’ve been reporting it for years and they’re hoping soon someone can get to the bottom of what’s really stinking up their neighborhood.

Read: Records: Mount Dora officers arrested suspected drunk drivers on lesser charges to avoid paperwork

“We don’t know where exactly it’s coming from, all we know is that we don’t know what we’re breathing in. We’re all concerned for our health,” Santagata said.

Channel 9 reached out the landfill through its website and by phone, but hasn’t heard back yet. We’re also waiting for answers from the DEP about its investigation.

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.

Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal,

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson,

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.