Odor Hotline

Odor Hotline

The Odor Hotline is staffed 24 hours a day - 7 days a week. The phone number is (515) 244-0336. The Odor Hotline receives complaints from citizens regarding nuisance or offensive odors emitted from business or industry located within the City of Des Moines corporate limits. When calling the Odor Hotline, you will be asked to select from one of the following odor descriptors when logging your complaint:

1. Putrid rotting
2. Manure/farmyard
3. Sewage
4. Meat cooking (bad)
5. Chemical
6. Other (include description of odor).

After making your selection, you may elaborate if you wish.

Odor Alerts

Odor alerts are declared when the Odor Hotline receives ten calls of a similar nature within a continuous six-hour period. Once the necessary number of odor complaints is received the staff of the Odor Hotline will phone one of the inspectors from the Neighborhood Inspection Division who is on call to respond to odor alerts on a 24 hour - 7 days a week basis.

Based on the information received from the Odor Hotline staff, the inspector will conduct an investigation in an attempt to determine the source of the nuisance odor. Inspectors utilize real time weather information from the National Weather Service as an aid in pinpointing the source of the nuisance odor.

Once the determination has been made as to the source of the offending odor, the inspector then prepares a notice of violation. The notice is sent to the management of the company determined to be the source of the odor. If a company receives three or more notices of violation within a continuous ninety (90) day period, the company is then designated a significant odor generator.

Significant Odor Generators

Significant odor generators are companies which have been found to be in violation of the nuisance odor ordinance on three occasions or more within a continuous ninety (90) day period. Significant odor generators are required to submit to the City of Des Moines a detailed engineering plan outlining the steps and procedures that will be utilized to mitigate offensive odors emitted from their facility.

A company so designated may appeal the determination of City staff to the Odor Appeals Board. The Odor Appeals Board is comprised of three to five members of the Citizens Odor Board.

The Odor Appeals Board hears the evidence and arguments submitted by the appellant company and from City staff. Based upon the evidence and testimony submitted, the Odor Appeals Board renders a decision as to whether the appeal is upheld or denied. A simple majority of the Appeals Board determines a final decision.

A decision by the Odor Appeals Board may be appealed to the City Council. From there the decision of the City Council may be appealed to the Courts.