Unpleasant smells never go unnoticed

Rural towns are usually the location of businesses such as saleyards and abattoirs from which certain odours are expected, but can become intolerable if the smell reaches local homes.

The Shire of Katanning Saleyard Complex (SKSC), one of the largest sheep selling complexes in Western Australia, was relocating its premises so they could expand their trade. To get the required construction and development permits, the SKSC needed to prove the odour of the 24,000-30,000 sheep coming through every week would not impinge on the people of Katanning.

The Shire of Katanning commissioned the Albany office of WSP Opus to assist with the approval process to proceed with the relocation, with WSP Opus Research conducting the odour assessment required by the consenting process. Our assessment had to take into consideration the possible increase in throughput of up to 1.5 million sheep per year to allow for the potential growth of the business. With no air quality data existing for Katanning, this information would have to be determined before the potential effects of the smell of the SKSC on the community could be measured.

We first assessed the existing ambient air quality by taking into account the meteorological conditions and topography of the area. A literature review was then undertaken to determine anticipated odour emission rates which would most likely be produced from saleyard activities. These results were used to assess the effect the SKSC’s odour contaminants would have on residential properties and other sensitive sites, determining odour concentrations in ambient air. This came together in an air dispersion model so the predicted odour concentrations could be checked against relevant Western Australia Department of Environment and Conservation regulatory criteria.

One of the key factors of this project was how different teams in WSP Opus worked effectively together so that we could best serve the SKSC and the Katanning community. This meant that we could successfully respond to the community’s requirements, which were at the heart of the issue for the client.

 The odour assessment undertaken by WSP Opus Research assisted SKSC to gain the approval they needed to make their relocation. Furthermore using all available data, the air pollution dispersal model took into account the future growth projections of the business.