It can be difficult dealing with the regulation of more
subjective parameters, such as odor and noise.
Unfortunately, odor is often regulated under
“nuisance” ordinances such as “not to
interrupt the quality of life for nearby residents”.
To deal with such qualitative regulations, it is important to work
with an experienced group that provides sound methodology when
developing any responses.
Odor complaints are, more often than not, handled at a local level
where agency staff are all too often ill-equipped and
inexperienced with such issues. Regulations based on
qualitative/descriptive standards make it difficult to respond to
odor complaints. Further difficulties arise when pertinent
and specific information is not obtained or provided as quickly as
possible to assist with evaluating an odor complaint. Odor
is directly related to the strength of the source and often times
can be affected by multiple factors. Response time can also
greatly affect odor issues. For example, a complaint
received by a local building department may take several days to
reach the actual facility. Further, odor complaints are
often vague and ill-informed, if the complainant simply says there
is a “bad smell at County Rd X and Y”.
As such, a facility with odor complaints should be proactive and
develop a program in an effort to obtain specific data and collect
pertinent event information as well as obtain facility specific
information. The facility should also work with local
officials to be sure that odor complaints are thoroughly
investigated as soon as possible. Simple fact checks, such
as a drive to the location, can be invaluable to an odor
program. Depending on the nature of the calls, the severity
and frequency, other activities can be implemented to further
evaluate conditions and devise mitigation efforts, if necessary.
RTP’s scientific odor evaluations provide information to
guide realistic program objectives to allow swifter resolution for
all parties. RTP’s experience can assist the
implementation of a well designed odor program to respond
appropriately. In addition, RTP’s experience in air
dispersion modeling and air pollution control can provide crucial
information to help narrow the focus and strategy for a successful
resolution. Since odor assessments are case specific, please
contact an RTP office for more detailed information on how we can