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Nuisance Odour Impact Assessments

Odour is a complicated parameter to measure and much research has been conducted into developing monitoring equipment to replicate this highly complex human sense. The main difficulties in monitoring odours are that there are wide variations in the sensitivities and perception of people to different odours and most odours are made up of a complex mixture of different compounds.

Additionally, the concentrations at which some odours are detected are very low and the periods over which they can be experienced as being offensive can occur intermittently over just a few seconds, which can make collecting samples and analysing them very difficult.

Often the best monitoring equipment for determining the strength, character and offensiveness of an odour is the human nose. This can be via an individual assessor in the field, a panel of “calibrated” assessors, or in a laboratory environment with a field sample using an item of equipment called an olfactometer.

For the same reasons that monitoring odours can be difficult, accurately predicting odour concentrations from a proposed source such as a new restaurant or sewage treatment plant can also be very difficult. However, dispersion models and other assessment techniques are recognised by regulators to provide useful information for determining planning applications and environmental permits.

Phlorum Limited is experienced in providing the full range of odour consultancy services, including presentation of expert evidence at Public Inquiries. All staff engaged in odour work have had their olfactory senses tested and calibrated. We are routinely appointed to provide monitoring and assessments for proposed facilities and for determining or refuting nuisance complaints from existing processes. Examples of projects we have worked on include odour assessments for the following types of site:

  • abattoirs;
  • agriculture and animal husbandry;
  • food processing;
  • restaurants;
  • waste water (sewage) treatment works; and
  • industrial processes.

Data Sheet