The Importance of Odour in Ontario



In Canada, odour is considered a contaminant under the Environmental Protection Act as well as Provincial Regulations including (but not limited to):

  • Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (Ontario)
  • Alberta Ambient Air Quality Guidelines (Alberta)
  • Reglement sur la qualite de l'atmosphere (Quebec)

In Ontario, the MOECC have sometimes enforced a 1 Odour Unit limit at the nearest sensitive receptor to a facility.  Odour is a perceived problem which by nature makes it highly subjective and difficult to both measure and quantify.  Action is typically initiated by complaints from residents and can include significant regulatory fines and penalties.  With the increased encroachment of development on industry and an increasing frequency of public nuisance complaints, odour management is becoming a more important aspect of a company's overall environmental program.

What Should Industry Do?

The best way to prevent issues is to have a proactive odour management program in place.  Provincially, the Ontario Source Testing Code, Section ON-6 outlines the regulatory requirements and testing methodologies for odour and provides a good outline on testing programs to quantify odour.  Predictive modelling can then be used to assess odour impacts under a variety of operating scenarios.  Trinity Consultants has extensive experience working with facilities to develop proactive odour assessment programs. The assessment would inventory potential odour sources at a facility and analyze odour by collecting odour samples, including:

  • Point source testing (such as a stack) as "grab" samples using a vacuum chamber or dynamic dilutions using a dilution probe;
  • Ambient air testing using a vacuum chamber;
  • In situ measurements using field olfactometers to obtain instant field results;
  • Passive area source testing (such as a settling pond) using a flux chamber; and
  • Active area source testing (such as a biofilter) using a static hood sampler.

Having a carefully monitored baseline of your facility's odour emissions is the best way to identify potential issues and eliminate odour complaints which include the MOECC.

Trinity Consultants has the knowledge, experience and equipment to assist your facility in developing and implementing a proactive odour management program.  For more information, please contact Suzy Sabanathan at (416) 391-2527 x22, or Chris Scullion at (416) 391-2527 x30.