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“Providing Guidance in Environmental Regulation, Monitoring and Management”


Odour Consultancy


Odour can be one of the hardest pollutants to define. Our sense of smell is a subjective and personal experience and differs from person to person. Unlike noise or dust, for example, there is no measurement device to quantify odour other than the human nose. Odour pollution can be one of the most intrusive pollutants, causing disruption to thousands of lives in the UK every day.

Odour pollution can arise from various sources such as waste, water treatment, petro-chemical, agriculture and food manufacture. Any process which handles odorous material can cause odour pollution and problems can occur at all stages of a business life. Planning and permit applications that lack sufficient impact assessments can be rejected. Neighbourhood complaints can be troublesome, gaining unwanted media coverage, and in worse case scenarios sites can be prosecuted, receiving hefty fines for odour problems.

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Processing operations of any nature that are located within large urbanised areas, need to ensure strict environmental compliance. Especially where potential nuisance by odour can escalate into complaints, investigation and enforcement. Failure to act on odour emissions can destroy local public relations, attract bad publicity and ultimately result in financial penalty and restrictions on operation.

Site Odour Assessment

Site odour assessments fully qualify all the sources of odour emission within a site boundary, ranking them in order of significance of contribution to the net odour yield. This critical step ultimately helps in the recommendation of the appropriate odour abatement methods.

Many manufacturing environments such as a bitumen refineries, chemical production plants, or food-processing units typically have several exhaust points between the internal production areas and the outside environment. It can be the smallest, seemingly insignificant exhaust stack that yields the most serious contribution to site odour. Only from a process of close examination of all air emission points can the offending source, or sources, be determined.

One of our expert consultants, carries out the initial assessment pinpointing the suspected sources. A determination is made by safely smelling the source of odour at each emission point, scoring it using the FIDOL index. FIDOL represents the frequency, intensity, duration, offensiveness and location of the odour. This can be used to characterise the effects of an odour annoyance.

Frequency – how often a person is exposed to an odour
Intensity – odour strength
Duration – how long the odour was detectedSenses-smell
Offensiveness – the odour’s hedonic tone
Location – the type of land use and nature of human activities in the vicinity of an odour source and the tolerance expectation of the receptor.

By determining the exact odour emission points on a site, prior to attempting any form of abatement or process control, significant time and money is saved and a more likely outcome of success ensured.

Odour Threshold Analysis

In all industrial sectors, the exact determination of the odour concentrations around the site provides valuable process management indicators.
Samples can be collected from all areas of the site and analysed using Dynamic Dilution Olfactometry. Olfactometry is the scientific measurement of odour concentration utilising a system of sampling and a regulated methodology to the standard for Olfactometry BSEN13725. Olfactometric sampling and analysis, provides a reliable measurement of odour concentration. Thereby providing valuable data from which to make reasoned odour management decisions.

For example, in the waste water industry, a noticeable increase in odour yield may indicate a biological process becoming inefficient. Similarly, in the composting of organic materials, an increase in the strength of odour may indicate inefficient ventilation of the material.

Odour Dispersion Modelling

Processing operations of any nature that are located within large urbanised areas, need to ensure strict environmental compliance. Especially where potential nuisance by odour can escalate into complaints, investigation and enforcement. Failure to act on odour emissions can destroy local public relations, attract bad publicity and ultimately result in financial penalty and restrictions on operation.

Investigative odour dispersion modelling

Odour dispersion modelling provides a comprehensive representation of the odour source and its manipulation by local topographic and meteorological conditions. This can give a clear indication of the impact of the odour on the local environment and receptors.

Using the latest in ADMS modelling software, the trained consultants at SES can include odour emission rates for the relevant odour sources on site, topographical data detailing the surrounding building structures and local meteorological data. Each model run is then comprehensively analysed by the SES consultants to draw conclusions and solutions for an odour management plan.

– Process change dispersion modellingOdour-Dispersion-Modelling-300x131
– Emission point design investigation
– Emission parameter investigation

Once a model has been established, any process changes or possible future developments on site can be added. Multiple scenarios can then be created to provide insight into their effects on the surrounding area of the site.

Odour Management Plans

Following our site odour assessments and odour dispersion models, SES can provide an Odour Management Plan (OMP) best suitable to your needs. OMPs can accompany your environmental permit application and can help reduce the risk of complaints from sensitive receptors. Therefore, minimising a business’s chances of enforcement action from the regulating authorities in serious cases.

Spectrum Environmental Support can help in all odour related cases. With the correct precautions, abatement and management, odours can be contained and the impact effects limited. If you have odour problems, or want to understand more about your operations potential to release odour emissions, call 01905 362 100 to discuss.