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Perham fears being 'known as the stinkiest city in the U.S.'

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What's that smell? For residents of Perham, it's like a death knell.

Apparently the west-central Minnesota town has a stinking problem, if a story in The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead is any indication.

We start off our tour of Perham at "the town’s biggest summer attraction, Turtle Fest," which is ... well, it's not really explained what that is. But the thing that was notable about it last week is that the air was relatively clear.

"Without a heavy deluge of rain and eastern winds," the Forum reports, "thousands of guests would have been greeted by Perham’s signature scent – odors from an open-air wastewater treatment system."

The odor is a part of life in recent years for the people who live and work in Perham, but shop owners fear the stench will keep visitors away. How bad is it? People step out of their cars, get back in and don’t stop at any of the businesses due to the odor, according to what is actually a sad tale.

Perham has battled the odor for two years, according to the Forum. Wastewater pours into the city’s outdoor treatment ponds at rates higher than they can handle, and expanding the treatment facility to meet the demands of the growing town has fallen behind schedule.

Business owners are worried as much about the town's reputation as much as anything. "It will murder us," says one local bakery owner. "We do not want to be known as the stinkiest city in the U.S.”

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