In South Africa, through the National Environment Management: Air Quality Act, 2004 (Government Gazette, 2005), pollution caused by dust, noise and offensive odours are addressed. An Odour Management Plan must be developed and implemented in order to manage and mitigate the potential impacts of odour from site operations. Odour management plans help you to think through the odour issues of your site in a holistic and systematic way. Developing the plan involves a process of identifying the sources of odour on your site, as well as its surrounding areas. Consideration must be given to the distance between your site and your neighbours, prevailing wind directions, and where the most severe issues may be experienced.


Although every kind of site will focus on specific issues and will require different documents, there are a number of features most odour management plans have in common, some of which are outlined below:

Scope   For every odour management plan, terms of reference must be drawn up. These terms describe the intention and the limits of the plan. Contact details of key personnel are also included.
OverviewThis section outlines the activities of the site. Each area is described in enough detail to understand the odours that may be generated.
Odour SourcesBased on the overview, this section lists individual odour sources. It includes an analysis of seasonal or day/night variances. Each source should be evaluated as to where the odour could be treated (e.g. chemical treatment that prevents the odour in the first place, or by treating the air containing odour compounds).
Odour Control  At this stage of the plan, specific technologies must be chosen for odour control. Specific performance targets should be set so that the appropriate technology to achieve those targets can be evaluated. However, other mitigating steps should also be considered and listed (e.g. inventory control, covering potential sources at the end of shift etc.).
Monitoring        Odour management plans should include the routine monitoring activities aimed at checking the performance of equipment and samples of water and air. Weekly, monthly, and yearly checklists should be developed and documented. In addition to this, a routine maintenance schedule for odour control equipment should be designed based on supplier recommendations.
Complaints        Each facility should have a complaints procedure that outlines the steps that should be taken when an odour complaint is received.
ReviewDeveloping an odour management plan is a continuous process. A regular cycle of reviews and updates should be scheduled in from the start.


  • Identifying the sources of odour on your site, as well as its surrounding areas, from normal and abnormal situations.
  • Setting out procedures to mitigate or minimise the risk of odour.
  • Formalising an effective method of dealing with any odour complaints quickly and efficiently.
  • Suitable monitoring and record keeping.
  • Regular review of the effectiveness of odour management control measures

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