Tahmoor odours investigation

We are aware that the community has been experiencing odours within the town of Tahmoor and are investigating. This includes undertaking odour surveys in Tahmoor and inspecting activities we regulate in the area.

We appreciate and understand the impacts of odours can be unpleasant and can have an effect on quality of life.

What the EPA is doing

We are reviewing each report of odour from community and is working with Sydney Water, Wollondilly Shire Council and local industry licensee Inghams Enterprises to investigate the potential sources of odours. We found different types of odour in several locations around Tahmoor, which could indicate there are potentially multiple odour sources. This is consistent with reports received from the community. 

In May, as part of this investigation, the EPA varied the environment protection licence (EPL 1699) of Inghams Enterprises Pty Limited (Inghams). This variation requires Inghams to undertake further investigations at their Tahmoor premises to help identify and manage potential odour sources.

The licence variation requires Inghams to complete the following programs:

  • implement a stormwater and wastewater management improvement program; and
  • undertake an odour impact assessment and prepare an odour management plan for their premises.

The EPA will continue to ensure that Inghams complies with the conditions of its licence, including implementing the above programs by 28 June and 31 July 2024 respectively. 

A copy of the licence is available on the EPA’s Public Register.

We will continue to work with Sydney Water and Wollondilly Shire Council to investigate other potential odour sources in the area.

Reporting odours – how you can help

Community reports provide important information in the investigation of odour. We need local information about the location, time, duration and type of odour that you are experiencing to help us identify patterns as part of our investigation.

If you are experiencing offensive odour please contact the 24-hour Environment Line on 131 555 or email info@epa.nsw.gov.au. Information about persistent odour can also be recorded using the fact sheet and odour log sheet, which can then be emailed to us.

Do odours cause health impacts?

Everyone reacts to odours differently and some people, such as people with asthma, can be more sensitive to odours than others. Symptoms can vary depending on your sensitivity, age, state of health, and the frequency, duration, and strength of the odour.

If you are sensitive to odours you may experience some symptoms, even at low concentrations which may include irritation of eyes, nose and throat, headaches, nausea, and shortness of breath. Repeated exposures to odours can also understandably cause anxiety and distress and result in indirect symptoms such as headaches. Symptoms generally occur at the time of exposure and will pass once the odour is gone. However where the odour concentration is high or the duration is extended, some symptoms may persist after the odour is gone.

To minimise exposure to odours, residents are advised to close doors and windows and seal entry points. At times of no, or low odour levels, it is important to ventilate your home to prevent build-up of odours in indoor air.

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.

(Information provided by NSW Health)