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 journalArticle

5 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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