Odour investigations

We take reports about odours seriously as we want the community to enjoy their local area without offensive odours.

We put measures in place to reduce the odour impacts on the community, including requirements on the licencee's environment protection licence. At some locations monitors have been installed to sample the air and record the presence of odour-producing compounds.

Our investigations include potential breaches of legislation and licence requirements. Regulatory action  such as issuing fines or commencing prosecution proceedings will be taken where appropriate.

Reporting odours

Community reports can play an import role in our investigation of odours. Important information on odours can be recorded using the fact sheet and odour log sheet (PDF 160KB).

If you are experiencing odour impacts please contact the 24-hour Environment Line on 131 555 or email info@epa.nsw.gov.au.

Current investigations

We are currently investigating odours and working with licencees to reduce odours at these locations

Do the odours cause health impacts?

(Information provided by NSW Health)

People can smell hydrogen sulphide (‘rotten egg’ gas) at low levels. About half of people can smell hydrogen sulfide at a concentration of around 0.008 parts hydrogen sulphide per million parts of air (ppm). There is variability in this however – some people can smell it at 0.0005 ppm while others first smell it at 0.3 ppm.

Exposure to these low concentrations of hydrogen sulphide may cause irritation to the eyes, nose or throat, and difficulties in breathing in people with asthma. Repeated exposures at these levels can also understandably cause anxiety and distress and result in indirect symptoms such as headaches and nausea.

These effects are likely to be minor and temporary and should stop once the air quality improves.

Hydrogen sulphide once it enters the body does not accumulate as it is rapidly processed in the liver and excreted in the urine.

If residents are concerned about their symptoms or if symptoms persist once the odours have ceased, they should seek advice from their local General Practitioner.

People who work in some industries are at risk of exposure to higher levels of hydrogen sulphide than the general population.