Vegas officials spending $100,000 to solve mystery of downtown stench
LAS VEGAS – It’s a mystery worthy of Nancy Drew: What is causing the “Stench of Fremont Street?”
City officials are planning to hire a gumshoe of sorts to figure out what’s behind the smell that has plagued the downtown area surrounding the Fremont Street pedestrian mall for a decade.
“I’m not a connoisseur,” said City Engineer Charlie Kajkowski. “But it smells.”
City officials are tired of throwing time, effort and deodorizer at the smell only to have the “sewer-type” odor return. Now they are betting on some consultants to find the source and solve the problem permanently.
The City Council is set to consider Wednesday a $100,000 consulting contract that would result in a high-tech look at the smelly situation. A tiny closed-circuit television system would be used to gather video documentation of the downtown storm drain, along with smoke to identify the pipe’s various outlets and dye to check water flows.
“We’ve worked with this for like 10 years, and it has just cost money to have manpower out there to clean the pipes and use the industrial deodorizer,” Kajkowski said. “If they find and clean it up, we won’t have to mess with it anymore.”
The investigation is the second large-scale effort this year to attack foul odors downtown, a problem some fear could hamper the area’s revitalization. Since April, the city’s Rapid Response Team has cleared out debris from alleys and sprayed them with water and an odor-eating, enzyme-producing bacteria.
The success of that project has made the smelly storm drains more obvious, said City Manager Doug Selby.