Residents in different districts who called the fire services on Thursday morning were told that a change in weather coupled with a local refinery going through a spring clean had caused the smell.
The light winds and particularly warm weather yesterday, which reached around 20 degrees in Vienna, meant the stench spread far into the city.
It turned out the smell was coming from the OMV refinery in Schwechat, just south of Vienna, which is currently being cleaned.
A similar incident involving the refinery a few years ago had led to a full fire service operation being launched in Vienna to investigate a strange smell. This year, OMV had warned the fire service beforehand that the city might experience a stinky after-effect.
“Every five years we have to clean the refinery, suspend the product and check everything. The opening of the equipment causes a smell, which people might recognise from refuelling. Now the weather is particularly nice, which caused a cloud to form and head in the direction of the city,” explained OMV communications head Johannes Vetter to the ORF.
The refinery warned that the smell could continue for a few more days but both OMV and the fire service confirmed there are no health risk for residents.