Des Moines Businesses Complain of Strong Odor Around City


Gate well structure in Des Moines (WHO-HD)

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Des Moines businesses along the Scott Avenue Bridge are complaining of a persistent strong odor in the area, coming from a gate well sewer structure.

"You can smell it when it’s a little hotter out. I know the city is working on it," said John Wilch, manager of Madhouse Brewing Company.

The gate well structure, which houses a raw sewage pipeline, is owned by the city and operated by the Waste Water Authority.

“The hatch has been open to the air, so the odors have been worse in the last week or so," said Scott Hutchins, sewer administrator.

The city says crews are working to install charcoal filter on the vent, which would reduce the odors. In the meantime, some business owners in the area say the smell is putrid and bad for business, but Madhouse says the smell of sewage isn't hurting them.

“It's personal preference on what your tolerance is and what you can smell, so on and so forth, I don't foresee it being an issue," Wilch said.

Once the construction is over, the hope is for the smell to go away altogether.

“Even after that we will take a closer look at that facility and see if we can determine the source and try and take care of it," Hutchins said.

The city says construction should be completed in the next two weeks. If you are experiencing a stench in your neighborhood, click here for the odor hotline.


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