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City of Joplin Considers Odor Ordinance - KOAM TV 7

City of Joplin Considers Odor Ordinance

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Joplin, MO -

Joplin could have its own odor enforcement, after debate during a City Council meeting last night.  Several residents say they're frustrated with regularly smelling odors they suspect come from Joplin manufacturing facilities, like Jasper Products and Heartland Pet Products.  Both companies have been cited by Missouri's Department of Natural Resources.

Joplin's Health Department director says the Missouri DNR doesn't have enough resources to regularly visit Joplin for odor testing.

Take a look at the picture of a machine included with this story, called the Nasal Ranger.  It could soon be Joplin's smell police.

"I don't want to be disrespectful to the businesses here in town, because we obviously appreciate what they do here and all the employment they bring," says Joplin resident Tom Rogers.  "But we want everybody to play by the rules."

But Rogers knows there's a big question when it comes to smell.

Rogers asks, "What are the rules?"

Rogers organized a petition that about 1,000 signed, calling for the City to better monitor odors throughout town.  Perhaps the first rule when it comes to smell?

"That's subjective," says Dan Pekarek with the Joplin Health Department.

Here's how the Missouri DNR can cite a company for odor, measuring smell with the Nasal Ranger.

"It doesn't say only 'bad' odors are the ones offensive, or in violation of their ordinance," says Pekarek.  "It says any odor that is leaving the property of the facility could be considered a violation, if it exceeds the various readings."

The smell of pizza may be obnoxious to some people, and the DNR could issue citations.  Rogers doubts if anything like that would happen in Joplin.

"People are using it in comparison to things they smell that they don't like.  Dirty diapers.  Toilets.  Sewer.  What we're not hearing is, I wish that smell of doughnuts would go away," says Rogers.

The City's health department director still says Missouri's DNR odor enforcement seems unbiased by not picking which smells are "right."

"I'm not aware of any small communities in Missouri that have a true odor ordinance," says Pekarek.

City officials say they'll do more investigating, or, in this case, sniff out more details.

Pekarek says having a new odor enforcement unit would not necessarily mean hiring more city workers.  This would help alleviate any possible stretch on city resources.

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