Odor Management

EM – October 2023: This month, EM considers ways to manage and better understand odor emissions at industrial facilities.
by Angie Wanger

Odor regulation is inconsistent and often scarce, consequently the times in which industry may be required to review or assess odor impacts are limited. In some locations, there are clear environmental odor standards and requirements at a state/provincial, county, or municipal level. In those locations, it might be well understood that odor needs to be evaluated at some frequency or under a specific set of circumstances. However, more often, odor is not clearly regulated and instead governed through general nuisance law. Therefore, industry can be caught off-guard when odor concerns may be raised.
Odor concerns occur in a variety of settings and circumstances. For example, through local land use planning meetings, inspections from regulatory bodies due to complaints, and from new regulatory developments, such as environmental justice reviews, lawsuits, and so forth. Recently, there has been a regulatory landscape shift to embrace environmental justice concerns, which often requires an evaluation of odor impacts. At the same time, we are continuing to see encroachment of residential and commercial developments upon parcels of property adjacent to industry. Therefore, it is prudent to consider community odor impacts and the role industry, regulators, and community members can play in understanding, addressing, and communicating information about odors. Accordingly, many of us could benefit by learning more about odor management to help improve our understanding of odor and how to manage it within a community.
This issue of EM looks at odor management concerns from three different perspectives: the chemistry of odors and ways to treat and manage odors accordingly; odor analysis concerns in light of the COVID-19 pandemic; and a legal perspective on odor litigation.
Continue reading the full October 2023 issue of EM.


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