The cost of the odour impact in Russellville, Arkansas, USA

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property values odours   A few days ago we learnt about a byproduct rendering plant that has been operating for decades with significant odour complaints in the town of Russellville. The owners mentioned that they "invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in mechanical upgrades to the plant and on consultants whose speciality is odour control." This is a very fair amount of money to be spent on odour control. However, we wanted to make a small exercise: How much is the odour impact costing to Russellville citizens?

   The owners of the rendering plant say that they have spent thousands of dollars in odour control, but, how much is the odour impact costing to Russellville citizens? Are they right to claim that noxious odours lower property values? 

    A very simple calculation can be made. Let's imagine that 5% to 20% of the people is affected by odour nuisance. For a population of 27,920 that would be 1,400 to 5,600 people affected. With an average 2,53 persons per household, that means that between 550 and 2,200 homes will be affected by this odour impact.

   The median home value in Arkansas is $111,400, so the total value of all the houses affected by odour nuisance would be rounding up in the range between 61 and $250 million dollars. Houses subject to moderate and severe odour nuisance sell at a discount of 5% and 12%, respectively, compared to houses without nuisance. Therefore the total loss of the properties would range between 3 million dollars if just 5% of the population is affected by moderate odour nuisance, and 29 million dollars, if 20% of the population is affected by severe odour nuisance.

   3 to 29 million dollars, this is the cost of the odour impact to Russellville citizens.

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