Why manage the odor risks?
• Historical problems with industrial sites: stakeholders on the lookout
• Odor is unlike other contaminants; the sensory reaction is much quicker, feedback is generally very quick
• The trend towards litigation and class actions for nuisances (often in the millions of dollars)
• Increasing number of guidelines, laws and permits (often retroactive)
• Imposed sanctions on sites such as closure, reduced production rates imposed and other unforeseen costs
Odor risk management, the basic needs
• Need to understand the emission footprint of the facility
• Need to monitor sources
• Need to develop an internal odor expertise (emission, control, dispersion, perception, etc.)
The tools already exist (odor diagnostic, impact study, monitoring, sensitivity analysis, etc.)!
How to evaluate your odor risk (R factor)
The concept of FIDOL (Frequency, Intensity, Duration, Offensiveness and Location) is standard in the odor management industry, however the reality is a bit more complex (L becomes N x M and C is of importance since it is often the only measured and controlled value). The concept (simplified) can therefore be expanded to :
R = F x C x I x D x O x N x M
F = probability (or frequency)
C = Odor Concentration
I = Odor intensity
D = Duration of events
O = Offensiveness or Hedonic tone
N = Number of affected people
M = Mysterious factor: increases with media coverage, poor communication, history of the site, history of the industry, stakeholders interests,…
Factor M is where preventative management has the largest return
Managing odor risks - Too expensive?
Using as an example: of $ 50/ton x 75,000 tons x 4 years
• Income estimated to 15 $M
• Comprehensive odor management plan (diagnostic, modeling, measurement and real time modeling, citizen committee) estimated at $ 60 000/year: 1.6% of the annual projected income or $ 0.80 per ton
But most importantly, the management plan minimizes:
• The risk of reduced or lost earnings
• The costs of crisis management
• The costs associated with legal problems
Our next blog will cover the typical deficiencies in odor management plans...
Odor exposure can trigger human responses that may result in social, health, mental and physical impacts. These can be classified in 4 categories: Direct Impacts, Increased concerns, Psychosocial Impacts and Health Impacts. Identifying which is the most critical actually depends on the situation and context.
The severity of the impact is a function of the FIDOL relation:
Odor Impact Severity = Fct (F, I, D, O, L)
F: Odor exposure frequency
I: Odor intensity
D: Duration of odor episodes
O: Offensiveness of the odors
L: Location of the impact
To this, we can add that poor communication or absence of communication can greatly amplify the Odor Impact Severity... fear of the unknown, fear that the odor is toxic, concern that nothing is being done to address the issue, etc.
Top 5 Direct Impacts:
5. Interruption of activities (at the generator site or off site)
4. Community relationship degradation
3. Loss of enjoyment of premises
2. Discomfort (nuisance)
1. Loss of quality of life
Top 5 Concerns (Fears):
5. Concerns abour loss of property value
4. Fear of interferences in social activities (Ex: hesitations to invite friends over for a backyard event)
3. Loss of trust in those responsible
2. Fear of more odor episodes to come
1. Concerns about potential health risks
Top 5 Psychosocial Impacts:
5. Feeling powerless and disenfranchised
4. Growing irritation as odor events continue
3. Greater olfactory sensitivity
2. Frustration and anger
Top 5 Health Impacts:
5. Interference with concentration
4. Loss of appetite
3. Sleep disturbance
1. Cough, asthma, vomiting
Who are we to rank odor related impacts? Humbly, this ranking is based on 15 years of experience in community relationship building, citizen comities and public hearings relating to odor issues. However, everyone has a different perspective.
What is yours? I would love to have your own ranking. Please use the "Post comment" to share your view.