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Odour Assessment and Management

This new course provides a practical grounding in the principles of odour measurement (source and ambient), assessment and control. Odour is a challenging issue in many communities, involving both technical and social complexities.  The course includes intensive workshop sessions and uses extensive reference to case studies to illustrate the principles.

Now running over 3 days, this course will take you from the basic principles through to complex real-world situations where those principles can be seen at work.

Issues addressed


  • The human odour response: What is odour? How do we respond to it?
    • The sensory system and its link to perception and memory
    • Variations in odour response: their causes and effects
    • Community odour surveys: how they are done and what they tell us, using worldwide examples
    • Annoyance, nuisance and complaints: problems and issues
  • Workshop 1: odour perception testing
  • Odour sources and generation mechanisms: How is odour produced and released to the atmosphere, and what controls these processes?
    • Major odour-generating activities and source types
    • Typical behaviours of odour sources
    • Key factors in odour generation, with reference to wastewater, intensive livestock and other industries
    • Area source emissions: a complex but widespread problem
  • Workshop 2: process analysis of time-varying odour emissions, from an area source and an industrial process
  • Odour measurement: What is an odour unit? What is an olfactometer?
    • Dynamic olfactormetry (Australian Standard 4323.3) – the gold standard for odour measurement
    • Field methods: short-term and long-term surveys
    • Electronic nose: how they work and where they are most effective
    • Odour laboratory performance issues
    • Quality assurance and reporting requirements for odour measurement
    • Sampling methods and common problems e.g. single versus multiple samples; spatial and temporal source variations; odour sample decay over time; regulations and safety vs. getting the right sample
    • How to ask the right questions about an odour measurement report
  • Workshop 3: using a dynamic olfactometer and determining odour concentration. Using field sniffing technique. Participant will be part of the odour measurement process


  • Impact assessment principles
: Learn about the elements and issues of odour impact assessment:
    • Technical framework for odour assessment: similarities and differences between Australian states and international frameworks
    • Defining a future activity: what is to be modelled and/or assessed?
    • Baseline and context
    • Using and interpreting model predictions
    • Assessment criteria and their nature: what do odour criteria mean?
    • Stakeholder perspectives
  • Emissions estimation and dispersion modelling: Learn about how to estimate odour emissions and model their impacts:
    • How much data is needed to understand emissions behaviour?
    • Surrogate odour emissions data
    • Emissions variations in time and space
    • Best estimates of emission rates: from fixed values to time-varying models
    • Principles of plume dispersion modelling
    • Features of different models: AUSPLUME, AERMOD, TAPM, CALPUFF
    • Verification of odour models using field and community surveys
  • Workshop 4 – Modelling Exercise: hands-on workshop session to gain basic skills in odour modelling and evaluation of model results using real-world examples.


  • Regulatory approaches to odour management: Gain an overview of how different jurisdictions regulate odour:
    • Legislative framework: some practical problems
    • Implementation of policies and associated practical problems
    • Conditions of approval and odour management plans
    • Monitoring, compliance and prosecution
    • Planning for cumulative impacts
  • Control technologies and design principles
: Examine the range of methods commonly used to limit odour impacts:
    • The importance of design and management
    • Engineering solutions to reduce emissions, including biofiltration, scrubbing, incineration
    • Improving dispersion to reduce impacts
    • Examples from various industries
  • Practical management principles
    • Maintenance and housekeeping
    • Examples of management programs
    • How systems can fail
    • Real-time and predictive management systems: trends from around the world.
  • Workshop 5: Prosecution for odour offence – With reference to real-world examples, explore the role of objective and subjective information that goes into the formation of a body of evidence to prosecute a facility, for causing an alleged odour nuisance. How much weight can be given to various lines of evidence? Develop your views and weigh them up against the final decision that were made in these cases.

What do you get

  • Access to leading Australian odour practitioners
  • Course notes and resource material
  • Intensive workshop sessions based on real case study material
  • Practical understanding and tools to help you address odour management problems in your workplace
  • Australian case studies and exercises

Who should attend

Anyone who wants an excellent grounding in the principles of odour measurement, assessment and control. Including environmental managers, air quality managers, regulatory agency officers, local government environmental officers, consultants and researchers

This course is not currently scheduled for a future event


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