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What If Your Complaint Is About an Odor?

Explains the special circumstances regarding nuisance odors.

Since people react to odors in different ways, and since environmental odors usually come and go, we have specific odor investigation procedures to help us evaluate nuisance odor complaints.

What you need to know to make an odor complaint:

  • We cannot confirm a nuisance violation without knowing your identity. However, if you want to remain anonymous, we can still conduct an investigation to determine if there is a violation of operational rules or standards.
  • When we investigate a nuisance complaint, we gather evidence to help us evaluate the four primary characteristics of odors—frequency, intensity, duration, and offensiveness (FIDO)—so any information you can provide concerning these characteristics will assist us in the investigation. We also need information regarding the alleged source of the odor.
  • The presence of any of these four factors alone at a very high level can result in a nuisance violation, but usually it is a combination of the factors that results in a determination that a nuisance exists.
  • As with all complaints, if the situation appears to be an imminent threat to your health or to the environment, we will respond within 24 hours—usually much sooner.


Specifics regarding poultry odor complaints:

Beginning Sept. 1, 2009, we are required to investigate odor complaints concerning a poultry facility, or the land application of poultry litter by a poultry facility, within 18 hours if:

  • it is a second such odor complaint against a poultry facility or
  • we have substantiated odor nuisance conditions from a poultry facility in the previous 12 months.


Our Waco regional office has established a Poultry Odor Complaint Response Team. For poultry odor complaints within the Waco Region (Bell, Bosque, Brazos, Burleson, Coryell, Falls, Freestone, Grimes, Hamilton, Hill, Limestone, Lampasas, Leon, Madison, McLennan, Milam, Mills, Robertson, San Saba, Washington counties):

  • call (254) 751-0335 or toll-free at 888-777-3186 from 8 AM until 5 PM on Monday thru Friday or
  • call (254)744-4741 after normal working hours and on weekends or holidays (To receive the quickest response, we suggest you call our Waco office directly at one of these phone numbers.)


Specifics regarding Barnett Shale odor or emissions complaints:

Complaints about odors or emissions from oil and natural gas activities in the Barnett Shale that are currently occurring and constitute an imminent threat to public health, safety or the environment or a complaint concerning odor from an oil or natural gas site in the Barnett Shale that has substantiated odor nuisance conditions in the previous 12 months will be given an "Immediate Response" priority. An on-site investigation will be conducted by the Dallas/Fort Worth Region staff within 12 hours of receipt of the complaint by the regional office. All other oil and natural gas related complaints will be given priority in accordance with the Field Operations Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

Staff will discuss citizen collected evidence with the complainant and offer them the opportunity to sign an affidavit in accordance with existing SOPs. Staff will provide the complainant information during the investigation including a FIDO chart, a blank odor log and a template affidavit.


For all areas of the state, to submit a complaint you can: