Odors

Denver’s Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) is responsible for regulating nuisance odors as defined under Denver Revised Municipal Code Chapter 4 Air Pollution Control Section 4-10(PDF, 114KB). Denver’s ordinance specifies odors as a nuisance issue, as opposed to a health issue, to address reasonable and comfortable use and enjoyment of property.

View the updated the Rules & Regulations Governing Nuisance Odors in English(PDF, 5MB) and in Spanish(PDF, 2MB).

Ordinance Information

Updates to Denver's odor ordinance

Denver's updated odor ordinance includes these changes:

  • Who can complain - Business owners and employees, in addition to residents, are able to file formal complaints.
  • Complaint time period - The time period within which five complaints must be received to trigger enforcement has been lengthened from 12 hours to 30 days.
  • Specific industries - Businesses within certain industry types (for example: pet food manufacturing, marijuana grow operations and manufacturers of infused products (MIPs)) will be required to develop and submit an odor control plan based on Denver odor complaint data and community concerns, as well as precedent set by odor policy best practices of municipalities from around the country.
  • Odor control plan requirement - Facilities that exceed the complaint of dilution threshold standards, or fall within specific industry types, are required to develop an odor control plan instead of receiving a citation. An odor control plan would identify odor sources and control measures that will be taken to reduce odors from those sources. The measures will be based on best practices for that industry.

After the adoption of the updated ordinance, DDPHE and the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative created an Odor Advisory Group, to draft the rules and regulations, develop odor control plan templates, and identify best practices.  

On November 10, 2016, the DDPHE Board approved the Rules & Regulations Governing Nuisance Odors in Engish(PDF, 5MB) and in Spanish(PDF, 2MB). This document is considered official and may be used as reference until the signed official document is posted.

Investigating odor complaints

Denver investigates all complaints received on questionable odors. This includes identifying the source, independently verifying the odor, responding to the complainant and the source, and issuing a citation if necessary.

If issuing a citation is deemed necessary by DDPHE, the manager shall determine the amount of penalties. The Department's criteria for evaluating violations and assessing civil penalties can be viewed here(PDF, 751KB)

To file a complaint, call 3-1-1 (720-913-1311) or email 311@denvergov.org.


Odor Control Plan (OCP) Resources

OCP requirements

Businesses must develop and submit an Odor Control Plan (OCP) if the facility:

  • Falls into one of the regulated industries (pet food manufacturing, marijuana grows and MIPS, rendering and meat byproduct processing, asphalt shingle manufacturing, sewage treatment facilities)
  • Has received five or more complaints from individuals from separate households or businesses within a 30-day period
  • Emits odors contaminants that exceed state regulatory standards for odor intensity (dilution threshold)

For marijuana businesses, DDPHE will use the following checklists for reviewing OCP submittals. 

OCP review checklist for marijuana cultivation(PDF, 311KB)

OCP review checklist for marijuana infused products(PDF, 312KB)  

OCP for marijuana social consumption clubs(PDF, 202KB)  

OCP development resources

View the updated odor ordinance fact sheet here(PDF, 77KB). View an OCP template in  English(PDF, 383KB) and Spanish(PDF, 165KB).  

Businesses should submit their odor control plans to DDPHE for review and comment.  Submit your plan to EnvironmentalQuality@denvergov.org

DDPHE held a workshop for marijuana facilities on the updated odor ordinance. Topics include:

  • Overview of the Updated Rules and Regulations
  • How to Submit Information to DDPHE
  • How DDPHE will review OCP's
  • How to request assistance
  • Building permits, zoning, and license implications

View the presentation here(PDF, 280KB).  

Frequently asked questions

Commonly asked questions can be found here(PDF, 388KB).


Report Odor Control Upset or Malfunctions

All odor control malfunctions need to be reported to DDPHE by the end of the next business day after the discovery of the occurrence. 

You can also download the Odor Upset Report form here(PDF, 240KB) and email it to EQcomments@denvergov.org.  To report an odor complaint by phone, call 311 or 720-913-1311.