Business, industry and planning guidance

Respond to odour complaints

What can you do if an odour complaint is made about your business?

Identify the odour

Usually you will receive this information along with the odour complaint. When investigating the odour, we recommend that you use staff who were not directly involved in the incident, and are able to detect odours. Staff regularly exposed or overexposed to an odour can become desensitized, meaning they will not smell odour emissions at their source.

Determine potential sources/update preventative measures
Following this process:  

 Respond to odour complaints process graph
Process flow chart for odour complaint resolution.


Track your odour history

Be sure to keep a log of the odour complaint details, including wind direction, temperature, time of day, and what was being processed. This can help identify the odour-causing material or process on your site. If the source of the odour is not identified, or the odour pollution event is not resolved, a well-kept log may indicate possibilities of other sources off site.

What can you do if your odour prevention fails?

Get your odour pollution prevention up to standard as soon as possible. If controls take a long time to repair, and pollution cannot be managed in the meantime, contact EPA.

Minimise the risk of odour pollution as much as possible through process management. Have backup strategies for raw materials receival and other key processes. If appropriate, stop the odorous processes as soon as possible. If the odour is coming from a static source, minimise this as much as possible.


Page last updated on 18 Jun 2018