Noxious Odors in Southwest Lawton

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PUBLISHED 3/17/2022

The City of Lawton has been monitoring the recurring problem of noxious odors in southwest Lawton. When noxious odors occur, the City of Lawton’s industrial pretreatment staff are notified and there is an immediate response. The City of Lawton would like to assure citizens that their complaints have not gone unheard.

To better monitor the situation, industrial pretreatment staff have been testing air samples from key locations in southwest Lawton. So far, all readings have read zero for hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S), meaning that if hydrogen sulfide gas is present, it is below 0.1 parts per million, which is the lowest range of the test equipment. This level is 100 times lower than the eight-hour exposure limit of 10 parts per million as set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). What makes hydrogen sulfide gas such a nuisance is that some people can smell it in the air at a concentration of only 0.005 parts per million, which is 20 times lower than test equipment can measure, and 2,000 times lower than the OSHA eight-hour exposure limit. Therefore, while the city’s testing results show that dangerous concentrations of hydrogen sulfide gas may not have been present in the air, the readings do not mean that the levels are low enough that they do not create a noxious odor or represent a nuisance.

As outlined in Lawton City Code, it is a violation for an industry to emit a noxious odor that is either generated by itself or when mixed with other emissions, such as within the sanitary sewer. It is the task of the City of Lawton’s industrial pretreatment staff to ensure significant industries remain in compliance with Lawton City Code.

The City of Lawton cannot comment on specific ongoing investigations but can confirm that an industry in Lawton has received a notice of violation, and surcharges for various permit violations. Additionally, the City of Lawton can confirm that staff are diligently working with our permitted industries to eliminate the sources of the noxious odors citizens are enduring.

Citizens are asked to please continue to submit noxious odor complaints to the City of Lawton and include details such as time of day, location and duration. To submit a complaint for noxious odor, call 580-581-3445.


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