Robots Get a Whiff of the Root of Vegas’ Stench

From Associated Press

Pipe-probing robots fitted with cameras have discovered the source of the awful smell that has plagued downtown Las Vegas for a decade.

Construction debris that got backed up in the storm drain system trapped stagnant water and bits of rotting trash, creating what has been called the “Stench of Fremont Street,” city officials said.

“It was critical that we find this, for business and tourism,” Mayor Oscar Goodman said Thursday. “This smell turns people off, including me.”

After years of trying to cover up the stink with deodorizer, city officials conducted a $97,000 investigation to track down the source of the smell. Now they have to figure out how best to remove the trapped bits of concrete, gravel and trash.


The junk could be blasted with high-pressure water jets or cleared by snaking cables with scoops on the ends.

City Engineer Charles Kajkowski said the narrow width of the pipes would keep maintenance workers from clearing them by hand. They are also dissuaded by the overpowering odor.

“It just doesn’t smell very good,” Kajkowski said.