Rutherford residents help sniff out odour
Residents will help identify odour samples have been taken from the Rutherford industrial area. THE quest to identify the odour that has plagued Rutherford residents for more than five years has moved ahead, with a community-based study commissioned to help with the investigation.
A panel of residents who have regularly reported odours to the NSW Environment Protection Authority and industry representatives will help detect and characterise odour samples taken from the Rutherford industrial area.
The residents will grade the odours in the hope they can identify the foul smell in question.
The results could be compiled by the end of late April.
Environment Minister and Maitland MP Robyn Parker will announce this stage of the investigation today.
She said The Odour Unit, a company that specialises in reducing odours, would conduct the study, with input from the panel.
“Involving the community’s noses has been identified as being an important step in determining which odours are considered most offensive by locals and in helping to undertake further odour sampling in the area,” Ms Parker said.
The Rutherford Air Quality Liaison Committee, set up by Ms Parker in 2011 to balance the interests of the community, government and industry, requested that the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) make the study possible.
Chairman Steve Francis said he was confident the study would identify the odour.
“The research has so far identified potential answers to the long-awaited questions from the community about the odour.
‘‘And the study, which is commissioned by the EPA, will make sure that the finger is not pointed at someone that is not involved,” he said.
Mr Francis said the committee would be advised of the study’s results and would present them to Rutherford industries.
“We will work with industry to eliminate the odour, and so far industry have been very co-operative,” he said.
Up to 20 sites in the Rutherford industrial area were sampled in 2012 but the odour was not identified.
Since then the investigation has not found a single source or any pattern in the frequency or duration of the odour emissions.
Ms Parker said odours were notoriously difficult to measure and pinpoint compared with other types of emission.