• odour complaints;
  • odour modelling;
  • odour standards;
  • sewage odours


Numerical odour standards are often used in conjunction with dispersion modelling to assess the acceptability of the odour environment around wastewater treatment works (WWTWs). However, the odour standards applied are based on very limited research, and there is very little information available regarding how well these standards work in practice. This paper describes the results of a study examining the relationship between odour modelling results and reported complaints around 15 WWTWs in the United Kingdom. Predicted odour concentrations around each of the works were calculated using industry standard odour emission rates. Records of reported odour complaints were obtained from the relevant local authority environmental health department. The study found that odour modelling results did not correlate well with the location of the reported complaints and that in most cases, odour modelling underestimated the area from which complaints would be received.