Journal article


  • GC–MS/O methodologies are broadened to improve ecological validity.
  • A Community Odour Wheel for untrained individuals is implemented.
  • A combined online and workshop based community engagement structure is proposed.
  • Common language between all stakeholders in environmental malodour provides many advantages.


Complaints for odour causing industry continue to increase in numeracy and severity. One assessment approach using Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry/Olfactometry (GC–MS/O), has been used primarily to identify priority odourants within a standardised panel. The authors investigated the variation of response between participants of average and high olfactory sensitivity, and discovered that current GC–MS/O methodologies do not represent the entirety of community odour impact. Based on these results the authors constructed a Biosolids Processing Odour Wheel followed by a Community Odour Wheel for use by untrained community members and site operators. By using the information gathered from this research, as well as odour testing workshops for a wastewater treatment plant's staff and community surrounding the facility, the authors established a communicative system, which was subsequently incorporated into an online dynamic odour observation platform. This platform provides the WWTP with meaningful information from the community, as well as a common language for which to discuss environmental malodour with all stakeholders.

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