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Odor Control

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On August 4, 2023, DOEE updated our nuisance odor regulations under 20 DCMR 903 to better serve the needs of our residents, the regulated community, and the District as a whole.

- View the final adopted rule

Overview

To better enforce and regulate nuisance odor concerns, DOEE now requires certain facilities, also known as sources, that are known to produce odors to develop an Odor Control Plan (OCP) subject to DOEE approval.  

The regulation requires a facility or establishment to prepare and submit an Odor Control Plan if it falls into one of six categories that are the most frequent sources of odor.

  1. Cannabis cultivation, processing, and dispensing operations;
  2. Certain types of painting operations, including autobody paint booths;
  3. Trash transfer stations;
  4. Asphalt processing plants;
  5. Wastewater treatment facilities; and
  6. Commercial solid fuel-fired cooking operations.

The regulation also allows DOEE to require an Odor Control Plan from other sources not included in this list of categories, if they meet one of the following criteria:

  1. If, during an inspection, DOEE identifies an odor from a source that is detectable above a threshold of 2 dilutions on the odor-measuring device (also known as an “olfactometer” or “nasal ranger”), or
  2. If DOEE receives at least three odor complaints from three separate  households or businesses within a thirty-day period, and DOEE is able to verify the source of the odors and the information provided.

Once a source has an Odor Control Plan approved by DOEE, the source is required to comply with the approved plan.

What goes into an Odor Control Plan?

An Odor Control Plan shall include detailed information on the types and sources of odor as well as any strategies that are in place to reduce the odor. Specifically, it should include the following:

  • General information about the source, such as facility name, hours of operation, address, and points of contact;
  • Detailed information about odor generated by the source, including the locations within the facility or establishment where odors are generated, sources of odor, and timing/length of odor emissions;
  • A description of proposed or existing odor reduction procedures and practices, which must be based on best control technologies and best industry practices or be sufficient to prevent odors from all sources;
  • Administrative controls, such as staff training, recordkeeping, and maintenance, testing, and audit procedures to ensure control equipment is functioning properly and the OCP is being adhered to;
  • A timeline for implementing any proposed new odor control strategies;
  • A description of the source’s procedures for receiving, responding to, and tracking complaints; and
  • If engineering controls are proposed, a certification form signed by a professional engineer licensed with the District of Columbia Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection (DLCP).

For more details on the contents of an Odor Control Plan, see 20 DCMR § 903.5.

When do sources need to comply?

Existing sources that fall into one of the six specifically identified categories (circumstance 1 above) listed above must submit an Odor Control Plan to DOEE for approval by November 2, 2023. Odor control plans shall be submitted to DOEE by emailing [email protected].

Other sources that become subject to the rule based on the odor threshold (circumstance 2 above) or due to receiving three or more complaints (circumstance 3 above) will receive an Administrative Order from DOEE requiring the source to submit a plan within 60 days (subject to change based on the type or severity of odor, or the amount of time needed by the source to submit the plan).

If you are a source subject to this regulation and you need additional time to develop an Odor Control Plan, please send an email to [email protected].

How can District residents get more involved?

The new regulation allows DOEE to require an Odor Control Plan based on odor complaints submitted by residents. If you have a concern about odor from a specific facility, you can report your concern by submitting a service request through the DC 311 online portal or app on your smartphone or tablet. Please select the Service Request type “DOEE - General Air Quality Concerns (Dust, Visible Emissions, Odor, Asbestos)”.

Once DOEE receives three or more distinct complaints about a specific source facility, DOEE will reach out to the residents to verify information about the source of the odor and each complainant’s address. Once verified, DOEE will use this information to require an Odor Control Plan for the specified source.

Where can I find existing odor control plans?

Here is a list of Odor Control Plans that DOEE has approved under the new odor control regulation.

Here is a list of Odor Control Plans that have been submitted to DOEE under the new odor control regulation.

If you have questions about this regulation or have issues using DC311 online, please contact [email protected].

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