In assessing a resource consent application for an existing activity, Waikato Regional Council will consider one or more of the following types of information:
The following is not a modelling standard and should not be used or quoted as a standard. Waikato Regional Council will use the following as a guide in assessing whether adverse effects are likely to occur for resource consent applications for activities with the potential to discharge significant levels of odour due to the scale and/or nature of the activity.
The odour dispersion modelling guidelines may be used when assessing new activities or be applied to existing activities as appropriate (for example, where options for improvement are being investigated). It is expected that for existing odour discharges other information on which to assess the potential effects will be available, such as community information and Council’s experience. Modelling for new proposals will only be possible where there is a reliable body of information on odour emission rates from the same or very smiliar processes.
Methods of assessment other than those discussed in Section 6.4 of this Plan need to be justified by a resource consent applicant on a case-by-case basis, for example, measurement of individual chemical compounds and comparison to odour thresholds may be appropriate in some circumstances.
The recommended odour modelling guidelines values are summarised in Table 6-6. The values are as recommended by the Ministry for the Environment4. Other values may be able to be justified on a case-by-case basis for specific odour sources if the work has been adequately peer reviewed.
|Receiving environment sensitivity||Concentration||Percentile|
|High (worst case impacts during unstable to semi-unstable conditions)||1 OU/m3||0.1% and 0.5%|
|High (worst case impacts during neutral to stable conditions)||2 OU/m3||0.1% and 0.5%|
|Moderate (all conditions)||5 OU/m3||0.1% and 0.5%|
|Low (all conditions)||5 – 10 OU/m3||0.5%|
In the event of receiving a complaint(s) regarding odour discharges from activities permitted by rules in this Plan, Waikato Regional Council will take the approach outlined in parts a) to e) below, or undertake aspects of this approach, to determine whether or not the odour is objectionable to the extent that it is causing an adverse effect. This approach is distinct from the resource consent approach detailed in Section 184.108.40.206. The approach involves more rapid action and response procedures. For example, the assessment of frequency in a) i) below would substitute use of odour diaries and complaint response with procative inspections by council officers targeted at times when odour is most likely to occur. It also places a greater duty on the discharger to remain within the permitted activity conditions in Section 6.1.8. The criteria that Waikato Regional Council will apply when assessing whether odour is objectionable to the extent that it is causing an adverse effect; and the standard of evidence required for enforcement action, remains the same for both permitted activities and consented activities:
An adverse effect may be deemed to have occurred or to be occurring from one incident of a significant enough intensity, or duration or offensiveness; or from frequent incidents of lesser intensity or offensiveness; or a combination of these.
In the event of receiving complaint(s) regarding odour from activities that hold a resource consent, Waikato Regional Council will take the approach outlined in parts a) to g) below, or undertake aspects of this approach to determine whether or not the odour is objectionable to the extent that it has caused or is causing an adverse effect:
An adverse effect may be deemed to have occurred or to be occurring from one incident of a significant enough intensity, duration or offensiveness; or from frequent incidents of lesser intensity or offensiveness; or a combination of these.
Where complaint(s) concerning odour discharges from consented activities are deemed to be justified (in Section 220.127.116.11), and where there is an established working relationship between discharger and the local community, a community triggered response to compliance could be undertaken as follows:
In the event that complaint(s) concerning adverse effects from odour are deemed to be justified in Section 18.104.22.168, and where agreement cannot be reached under Section 22.214.171.124, and/or the discharger has not complied with condition(s) on the resource consent, Waikato Regional Council will normally take the following approach:
Explanation and Principal Reasons for Adopting Sections 126.96.36.199 to 188.8.131.52
Section 184.108.40.206 provides a guideline for the course of action that Waikato Regional Council can take when assessing a resource consent application for an existing activity (this includes a consent renewal or review of an existing activity which has not previously held consent). The list provided is not hierarchical. Not all of the approaches outlined will necessarily be relevant in an assessment. The Ministry for the Environment, Good Practice Guide for Assessing and Managing Odour in New Zealand (2003), rates odour assessment techniques as having a high, medium or low ranking depending on the situation. The MfE Odour Guide should be referred to if the reader is unsure as to which techniques are most appropriate for a given situation.
Section 220.127.116.11 part a) indicates that Waikato Regional Council will consider the history of complaints received by the regional community regarding the discharge. Complaints can be used as an indicator of past performance from the site.
Section 18.104.22.168 parts b) and h) rely on information held by Waikato Regional Council and past experiences of Council Officers regarding any adverse effects caused by the discharge. In situations where new activities are proposed, this Council will draw on experience and knowledge gained from existing sites of a similar nature or scale.
The provisions in parts c) and d) accommodate consideration of community feedback and experience with the discharge. Community feedback need not be restricted to complaints, there are many techniques available to dischargers to gauge whether or not the community considers the odour to be objectionable to the extent that it is causing an adverse effect. Methods include odour diaries and community opinion or odour annoyance surveys. Refer to the Ministry for the Environment Good Practice Guide and Air Quality Technical Report Number 24 for more information. A report by Lincoln Environmental (1997) also provides useful background reading on survey design15.
Section 22.214.171.124 part e) provides for two further techniques for quantifying and assessing the potential adverse effects from odour discharges. Dynamic dilution olfactometry is a method that can be used for measuring odour concentration16. Dispersion modelling can be used to estimate the effects of changes in air contaminants discharged into the atmosphere. Models can predict how changes in processes and controls will affect air quality and can improve understanding of complex air quality issues. It is important to use them properly with regard to their limits, and with consideration of the uncertainty of their outputs17.
Section 126.96.36.199 part f) provides for an assessment based on a best practicable option approach. Policy 4 in Chapter 6.1 outlines where Waikato Regional Council considers best practicable option is preferable over an air quality management approach. Section 188.8.131.52 part g) assesses whether the principles of continuous improvement have been, or could be, adopted by the discharger.
Section 184.108.40.206 part i) allows Council to consider any other information where it can be justified as being relevant to the assessment.
Section 220.127.116.11 part 1 provides dispersion modelling guideline values that will be used by Waikato Regional Council when considering resource consent applications. The guidelines have been provided in this Plan in recognition of the need for criteria on which to make decisions in a consistent manner, which in turn provides certainty to resource users in the Region. Waikato Regional Council wishes to provide certainty and consistency in approach when assessing resource consent applications regarding odour by providing modelling guidelines in the Plan and aligning the values with the MfE Odour Guide. It should be noted that the guidelines are not modelling standards and should not be used or quoted as such.
The odour modelling guidelines should be applied to applications for any activity that is of a scale or nature that has the potential to discharge significant levels of odour. For new activities the operations should be designed to meet the guideline values in this Plan or other values justified on a case-by-case basis, for example guidelines developed for specific industries. However, modelling for new proposals will only be possible where there is a reliable body of information on odour emission rates from the same or very similar processes.
For exisiting actitivies it may be more appropriate to assess an application using the provisions in Section 18.104.22.168 rather than to use modelling as a primary assessment tool.
The steps listed in Section 22.214.171.124 provide a checklist for Waikato Regional Council to follow when addressing complaints regarding odour for permitted activities. It should be noted that this checklist is not hierarchical. Not all of the approaches outlined may be relevant in the assessment of effects for a given activity. The differences between this procedure and the procedure given in Section 126.96.36.199 are to allow Council to respond faster to odour complaints from permitted activities. This method is intended to avoid a long drawn out process in rectifying issues with permitted activities that do not comply with the standard conditions for permitted activities set out in Section 6.1.8.
Section 188.8.131.52 part a) provides the criteria for assessment that should be used by a council officer. Consideration of each separate factor in part a) i) to vi) is important when making an assessment as to whether or not the odour is objectionable to the extent that it is causing an adverse effect. Due to the more rapid response required, by necessity the duration of assessment will be curtailed. More frequent officer inspections may replace the use of extensive odour diary systems. There will often be times where it will be appropriate for an officer with delegated authority to assess the odour event, particularly if the event occurs a large distance from Waikato Regional Council offices. In cases such as this, territorial authority officers can play an important role.
Section 184.108.40.206 part b) provides for the assessment of odourous events by other council officers or by an independent expert. This will be particularly appropriate if the discharger or complainant(s) dispute the first assessment undertaken as part of a), or if the problem is ongoing. If this is the case and the dissatisfied party or parties are prepared to share costs with Waikato Regional Council, then Council, if it deems necessary will undertake a further assessment by an independent expert.
If it is agreed by the discharger and Council that a discharge of odour that is objectionable to the extent that it has caused or is causing an adverse effect has occurred through the assessments made in parts a) and b), then Section 220.127.116.11 part c) provides for a problem solving approach in the first instance. Waikato Regional Council will encourage the discharger to identify and implement solutions to the problem; the responsibility rests with the discharger to avoid, remedy or mitigate the adverse effect.
Section 18.104.22.168 parts d) and e) outline the options available to Waikato Regional Council if through the process from a) to c), the event caused an adverse effect but no agreement has been reached. Waikato Regional Council may request that the discharger undertake measures to avoid, remedy or mitigate the adverse effects of the discharge and/or undertake enforcement procedures against the discharger. Waikato Regional Council may also require the discharger to seek a resource consent for the activity.
The steps listed in Section 22.214.171.124 provide a checklist for Waikato Regional Council to follow when addressing complaints regarding odour for activities that hold a resource consent. It should be noted that this checklist is not hierarchical. Not all of the approaches outlined may be relevant in the assessment of effects for a given activity.
Section 126.96.36.199 part a) provides the criteria for assessment that should be used by a council officer. Consideration of each separate factor in part a) i) to vi) is important when making an assessment as to whether or not the discharge is objectionable to the extent that it is causing an adverse effect. There will often be times where it will be appropriate for an officer with delegated authority to assess the odour event, particularly if the event occurs a large distance from Waikato Regional Council offices. In cases such as this, territorial authority officers can play an important role.
Section 188.8.131.52 part b) provides for the assessment of odourous events by other Council Officers or by an independent expert. This will be particularly appropriate if the discharger or complainants(s) dispute the first assessment undertaken as part of a), or if the problem is ongoing.
Section 184.108.40.206 parts d) and e) outline the actions that may be requested of the discharger or the community. This may involve Waikato Regional Council requesting the discharger to keep a complaint register and/or requesting people living and working in the area to keep a diary noting the details of any odour and the effect it is having on them.
Under Section 220.127.116.11 part f) Waikato Regional Council could carry out, or commission, a public survey of effects. There are many techniques for public surveying. The technique chosen needs to be carefully developed and the right questions asked in order to produce useful and credible information18. Waikato Regional Council could also carry out field investigations to determine the extent and impact of the discharge. As with community surveys, there are many techniques that can be undertaken for field investigations and again the technique chosen needs to be carefully developed19.
Section 18.104.22.168 part g) outlines a further approach if the approaches in parts a) to f) cannot be achieved. The discharger could be required to undertake an odour assessment using dynamic dilution olfactometry and/or be required to use dispersion modelling techniques to investigate means of avoiding, remedying or mitigating adverse effects caused from the discharge of odour.
The provisions in Section 22.214.171.124 parts a), b) and c) recognise that some dischargers have a well-established relationship with the local community, and have open channels of communication. The community-triggered response is a valid management approach to address adverse effects from odour and already occurs within some communities within the Region. This approach reduces the need for Waikato Regional Council involvement where there are complaints, although it does not rule out involvement from this Council if the problem cannot be solved between the parties.
Notwithstanding Council’s ability to take enforcement action at an early stage in certain circumstances, the provisions in Sections 126.96.36.199 to 188.8.131.52 reflect Waikato Regional Council’s commitment to a problem solving approach with the community and dischargers and also indicates this Council’s desire to see dischargers address their adverse effects in a proactive manner. Where problems still occur Waikato Regional Council will need to consider enforcement action.
Guidance is provided on when to initiate enforcement action in Section 184.108.40.206 parts a), b) and c). Decisions on enforcement will need to be made on a case-by-case basis but account will be taken of:
The amount of time given to the discharger to investigate and implement control options before enforcement proceedings are initiated would be dependent on the complexity of the problem, the costs involved, the level of community concern and the degree of adverse effect.