Oct 4, 2021 - News

Des Moines considers hiring consulting firm to track odors

Illustration of squiggly arrows pointing at a nose.
Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Des Moines officials are considering hiring a consulting firm to help the city identify and eliminate odors that residents have complained about for years.

Driving the news: The City Council is expected to vote on the $83,000 contract Monday night.

Why it matters: It's a quality-of-life issue important for the long-term development of local businesses and neighborhoods, Brandon Brown, the president of the Des Moines Downtown Neighborhood Association, told Axios.

State of play: Des Moines has had an odor hotline for nearly 30 years. Under Des Moines' current policy, city staff review smell complaints if 10 or more are logged within a six-hour window.

  • Now, Des Moines' Neighborhood Services Department is seeking "environmental expertise" to improve the city's responses to odor complaints.
  • The consulting firm would review complaints over the past two years, plot them on a map and monitor odor levels in certain areas. They'd then compile the data into a report and help the city evaluate how to address the issue.
  • City staff will also be trained in odor science and monitoring under the proposal.
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