Report Sewer Odors

Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES) is committed to being a good neighbor and keeping wastewater odors to a minimum. We investigate sources of odor complaints and develop solutions to prevent and correct odor problems.
To report a sewer odor in the Twin Cities metropolitan area to the Metropolitan Council,
call Regional Maintenance Dispatch: 651-602-4511.


Tips for reporting sewer odors

  • Contact MCES as soon as possible after smelling the odor.
  • Identify the location of the odor, including nearest address or cross streets, and whether the odor is indoors or outdoors.
  • Describe the odor. Common sewer and wastewater smell descriptions are:
    • Rotten eggs
    • Rotten or decayed cabbage
    • Fishy
    • Burnt
    • Ammonia-like
    • Pungent, putrid, and unpleasant

Sewer odors in your home or business

If you smell a sewer odor in your home or business, a few causes can be easy to fix.

  • Dry drains. The p-trap, a special bend in your plumbing that traps water, typically prevents sewer smells from coming into the building. When that trap dries out, sewer smells can enter through your plumbing. If you notice sewer smells coming from a sink, shower, or other drain that does not get used often, run the water for a few minutes to allow the trap to fill again.
  • Broken or loose toilet seal. Apply caulk to the toilet’s seal and bolt holes.
  • Buildup of grime, mildew, and personal care products. Over time grime, mildew, and the personal care products used in the shower or at the sink can build up inside the drain and plumbing, causing an unpleasant odor. Cleaning the drain regularly can prevent these odors. A complete cleaning may require removing the drain cover and using a drain brush to remove stuck-on grime.
  • Drain clogs. A clogged drain can also trap grime, mildew, and personal care products on whatever material is causing the clog. Use a drain snake to remove the clog.

How the Met Council controls odor

MCES makes every effort to control odors during the wastewater collection and treatment process. Some of the actions we take to control odors:

  • Add chemicals to certain points in the collection system.
  • Install carbon inserts in maintenance access holes.
  • Install chemical scrubbers, activated carbon beds, or biofilters in high-odor areas.
  • Maintain an active odor monitoring program.
  • Work with your city to respond quickly and thoroughly to sewer odor complaints.