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New Approach And The Community Helps Identify Bromley Odour Issues

A new approach to investigating ongoing problem odours in some parts of Bromley has generated preliminary findings that will help identify sources of problem odours.

Environment Canterbury, with the support of the Christchurch City Council and the Bromley community, carried out a pilot study in March 2020. It saw residents reporting odour via a ‘Smelt-It’ mobile app, with reports then cross-referenced with weather conditions and onsite observations.

Environment Canterbury Operations Director Nadeine Dommisse said the study identified Christchurch City Council-run facilities Living Earth and EcoDrop as significant odour emitters. The two councils had worked closely throughout the study, and Christchurch City Council had welcomed the findings. Both councils would work together to address any problems related to these two public facilities as quickly as possible.

“We know this has been an issue for Bromley residents for a long time and it hasn’t been an easy one to resolve. Tracing odour is a complex issue and the usual methods councils use to track odour simply didn’t work in Bromley. The variables involved include the number of potential sources, wind, weather, temperature, timing, distance, topography, and sometimes even a combination of odours, all making it difficult to pin down what residents were describing, and where an odour might be coming from.

“Over the last few years we’ve systematically worked through a process, talking to residents, mapping odour-emitting businesses and other work, which has culminated in the pilot study.

“The pilot study took a new approach, using reports from the community via a mobile app, and an independent odour assessor. Those reports were compared to wind and weather information and site operational data provided by the Christchurch City Council.

“These three datastreams enabled us to bring together odour reports, the physical impact on residents and the likely location at the same time. It’s given us a compelling picture we’ve not had before, and a new way to investigate these sorts of issues. We’re very grateful to the Bromley community and the Christchurch City Council for their support. Together we’ve been able to develop the information we need to finally make a difference”.

Environment Canterbury would work closely with the Christchurch City Council to progressively address the issue with Living Earth and EcoDrop. Environment Canterbury would continue to work with other odour emitting businesses in Bromley and further investigate the possibility that some odours were combining to create a worse one, she said.

“The Bromley community remain a vital part of the solution. We need them to continue to report odours so we can tell if progress in reducing odours is being made or not.

“A collaborative approach will produce faster results for affected residents. We can now better identify where problems can occur in certain conditions, potential emitters, and address them. While we have identified the Christchurch City Council-run facilities as being significant emitters, we will also be working with other odour-emitting businesses in Bromley to ensure they are managing odour appropriately.”

Christchurch City Council Head of Three Waters and Waste Helen Beaumont said the Council welcomed the pilot study findings.

“Environment Canterbury’s pilot study findings are an important step in determining what’s causing the offensive odours in some parts of Bromley. The study indicates the EcoDrop transfer station and the Living Earth composting plant facilities are significant contributors to the odour issue.

“We appreciate our community will want action and we’ll be working with Environment Canterbury to determine what immediate actions, other investigations or further information might be needed to address the issue. We’ll also be taking a proactive approach working with Living Earth and EcoDrop to share technology, best practices and initiatives to help further improve our processes.”

For more information on the pilot, see ecan.govt.nz/bromleyodour.

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