Navigating Denver's Odor Ordinance


A business must complete an odor control plan if multiple complaints are made

Odor ordinances regulate the smells coming from businesses and other facilities. Denver’s odor ordinance imposes restrictions on businesses when the odors produced cause a nuisance. When a business produces certain odors, they may need to submit an odor control plan to the Department of Public Health and Environment (the “Department”). There are three main situations where a business must create and submit an odor control plan.

1. First, a business may violate the one-to-seven dilution threshold. This occurs when an odor can still be detected when one (1) unit of odorous air is combined with seven (7) units of odor free air. The Colorado Air Pollution Control Division uses specialized devices or methods to measure the intensity of an odor. If the odor can still be detected after this dilution, the business must submit an odor control plan.

2. Next, a business must complete an odor control plan if the Department receives multiple complaints about the odor. If 5 or more different people or businesses make a complaint about the odor within a 30-day period, the odor-producing business must submit an odor control plan. The Department will contact your business if they receive multiple complaints.

3. Lastly, a business engaged in any of the following activities must submit an odor control plan:

·        Pet food manufacturing;

·        Marijuana growing, processing, or manufacturing;

·        Rendering and meat byproduct processing;

·        Asphalt shingle and coating materials manufacturing;

·        Petroleum refining;

·        Sewage treatment;

·        Wood preservation;

·        And other activities the Denver Board of Public Health and Environment deems likely to cause odors.

Why is it Important to Have an Odor Control Plan?

A business may be subject to penalties and fines if they produce nuisance odors. The Department may impose fines for every day the business produces the odor. However, it is a defense if the business is in complete compliance with an odor control plan previously submitted to the Department.

What Do I Need to Include in my Odor Control Plan?

Your odor control plan must include information about your business like the address, type of business and hours of operation. Additionally, the odor control plan must include the specific preventative actions and procedures that will help limit the odor. These procedures may require administrative procedures like specific training for staff members. However, the plan may also require your business to implement engineering controls like filtration systems and other odor control technologies. An environmental compliance lawyer or business lawyer can help you develop and write an odor control plan.

If you have any questions or concerns about your compliance with Denver’s odor ordinance feel free to contact Katie at 720-799-2882. We’re happy to help.