DENVER (KDVR) — If you are ever driving through the Mile High City, there is a good chance your nose will take in a variety of different scents.

From marijuana to food to manufacturing, you never know what smells will fill your nostrils.

The City of Denver has an odor ordinance. The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment is responsible for regulating nuisance odors as a part of the ordinance.

What are the biggest offenders for smell

FOX31 submitted a Colorado Open Records Act request with the DDPHE in March to determine what odor complaints were filed in the City of Denver from January 2022 to March 2023.

While the complaints varied, the biggest standouts were marijuana and pet food manufacturing.

The Nestle Purina plant located at 4555 York St. led the way with violations.

What were the complaints about Purina?

Many of the complaints filed about the Purina plant were that it smelled bad or the smell was stronger than normal. Others complained they couldn’t even be outside due to the stench.

“The smell from the Purina factory is becoming so bad that we cannot be outside or open our windows,” a complaint said. “It is unbearable!!!”

“The smell is so strong that it makes you gag,” one person said.

Another person said, “The smell is so bad I can’t be outside.”

Petition to remove Purina from Denver

Last July, a petition was created with the title Remove Purina Factory from Denver.

The creator said, “The Nestle Purina expels disgusting aromas in the River North (Rino) and surrounding neighborhoods in Denver. Those that sign this petition would like the factory to not be here anymore.”

However, the petition only gained 25 signatures.

Citations for odor violations

The DDPHE said from Jan. 2022 to March 2023, there were no odor citations issued.

“Odor violations can be hard to capture, since it can take some time for our investigator to arrive on scene, and the odor might have dissipated by then. However, our team works to educate businesses on practices to eliminate odors,” DDPHE shared.

If a business receives five or more complaints from individuals from separate households or businesses within a 30-day period, the business must develop and submit an Odor Control Plan.

Once the plan is submitted, Denver Environmental Health will meet with the business, review the plan, and suggest changes. 

How can you report smells?

DDPHE said business owners and employees, as well as residents, can file formal odor complaints.

If you want to submit a complaint, you can call 720-913-1311 or send an email to

The DDPHE said that every complaint will be investigated once it is received.