Journal article

Unrepresented community odour impact: improving engagement strategies

10 Aug 2017

GC–MS/O methodologies are broadened to improve ecological validity.
A Community Odour Wheel for untrained individuals is implemented.
A combined online and workshop based community engagement structure is proposed.
Common language between all stakeholders in environmental malodour provides many advantages.
Complaints for odour causing industry continue to increase in numeracy and severity. One assessment approach using Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry/Olfactometry (GC–MS/O), has been used primarily to identify priority odourants within a standardised panel. The authors investigated the variation of response between participants of average and high olfactory sensitivity, and discovered that current GC–MS/O methodologies do not represent the entirety of community odour impact. Based on these results the authors constructed a Biosolids Processing Odour Wheel followed by a Community Odour Wheel for use by untrained community members and site operators. By using the information gathered from this research, as well as odour testing workshops for a wastewater treatment plant's staff and community surrounding the facility, the authors established a communicative system, which was subsequently incorporated into an online dynamic odour observation platform. This platform provides the WWTP with meaningful information from the community, as well as a common language for which to discuss environmental malodour with all stakeholders.

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