Unrepresented community odour impact: improving engagement strategies

J. E. Hayes, R. M. Fisher, R. J. Stevenson, C. Mannebeck, R. M. Stuetz*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    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. We 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 we 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, we 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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1650-1658
    Number of pages9
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2017


    • biosolids
    • community engagement
    • GC–MS/O
    • odour wheel
    • olfactory sensitivity
    • online engagement


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