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Newport to crack down on odor emitters

Newport is reaching across the river to South St. Paul to combat odor emissions from the the most complained about facilities: Sanimax and the Washington/ Ramsey Recycling and Energy Center.

The City Council is sending a draft odor ordinance back to the Planning Commission and for staff to revise and refine the draft based on an ordinance recently written by South St. Paul.

"We looked to the South St. Paul ordinance, which is kind of state of the art, and did a Newport ordinance that is very similar," Planner Sherri Buss said.

Before passing the ordinance, council members want to discuss a joint powers agreement with South St. Paul to possibly share costs and resources for combating odor issues.

The draft ordinance defines a significant odor generator based on the number of complaints — seven complaints within a six-month period labels a facility a significant odor generator. It also requires someone from the city to go out when there is a complaint to ensure there really is an odor that crosses the threshold and if it does that the generator come up with an odor mitigation plan. The ordinance includes penalties if facilities are in non-compliance with their mitigation plan.

The city currently has a reporting system in place for residents to report an odor each time they smell a nuisance.

The city plans to use the Nasal Ranger Field Olfactometer made by St. Croix Sensory to measure nuisance odors. The employees responsible for the olfactometer will also have to take training through St. Croix Sensory, a cost of about $1,900.

The Nasal Ranger measures odors by the user sniffing it through filters on the mechanism. Turning a dial allows the user to either let more or less unfiltered — and therefore smellable — air to their noses. If the scent can still be detected at a higher number — or higher parts filtered air to unfiltered air — it is considered a nuisance odor.

In the draft, each time an odor is reported a staff member must go out with the Nasal Ranger and confirm the complaint.

The city plans to have the ordinance in place well before summer.

South St. Paul is currently working with Sanimax to draft an odor mitigation plan.