The Scent Buster: Fargo scientist sniffs out landfill issues

In this May 18, 2016, photo, North Dakota Health Department environmental scientist Jane Kangas shows how to operate a smell detection tool in her Fargo, N.D., office. (AP Photo/Dave Kolpack)

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Jane Kangas has the most valuable nostrils in North Dakota.

The North Dakota Health Department environmental scientist based in Fargo has a state-certified nose, which gives her the ability to test whether a landfill is meeting standards for odor control.

Although Kangas has a device that records the level of stink, she can tell if a facility has reached the reek peak just by taking a whiff or two. Every year, to make sure her olfactory senses stay sharp, she is required to attend odor school, where she is tested on a variety of scents.

Kangas conducts odor inspections for 25 landfills in eastern North Dakota, none more scrutinized than the one in Fargo, the state’s largest city. She examines the Fargo landfill at least once a week.

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