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Case Study: Odour Monitoring and Modelling

Published by AE on

This project involved looking at two sources of wastewater generated by a tannery plant and abattoir.

The wastewater from each section of the business was very different in terms of chemical composition and was previously, handled and disposed of separately on site.

Given the differences in chemical composition, this separate treatment and disposal of the wastewater products resulted in a number of issues for the plant including the need for duplicate infrastructure and corrosion caused by the chemical composition of the waters.

The client was interested in investigating the potential benefits and/or adverse impacts as a result of the treatment and combined storage and irrigation of wastewater from both the abattoir and tannery operations.

While the blending of these waters provided a number of clear benefits for the operation of the facility, the potential odour generation as a result of the storage and irrigation of the blended wastewater was unknown.

As part of the project, AMG worked with the client to:

  • Review all available information to inform the development of a trial test program;
  • Collection and analysis of odour samples collected from the blended wastewater;
  • Comparison of the measured odour emissions for the blended wastewater with those for the separate sources; and
  • Undertake odour dispersion modelling to assess the potential for adverse off-site amenity impacts.


The project involved blending two streams of wastewater with very different compositions and trying to determine what the odour generation would be over the full treatment life at the facility (from generation to irrigation).

Through a detailed literature review the expected variability of odour generation potential across the treatment process was determined and a sampling plan developed to allow the odour emissions to be determined. This included development of a holding tank solution (to simulate the storage of the blended wastewater in a pond) with the tank dimensions and water holding times selected to allow similar air/water interaction to occur.


The work undertaken was able to support the blending of these wastewater streams for on-site disposal.

Overall, the project delivered a number of positive outcomes including:

  • Cost-savings for the client through reduced infrastructure costs;
  • Increased nutrient and water reuse through the ability to apply the blended water to the existing agricultural property (rather than disposal to sewer);
  • Reduced potential for odour impacts through recommended modification of the irrigation zones used on the farm to prevent off-site amenity impacts.

Innovation within industry provides significant potential benefits in terms of operational efficiency, cost saving and improvement of work conditions. Understanding the full range of potential impacts associated with this innovation requires input from a team that is able to move beyond standard impact assessment methodologies.

AMG’s ability to use our wide and varied experience to develop methodologies to determine the potential impacts of these innovative solutions is essential when considering the risks associated with a change in operations.