How to report an odour incident

You must report incidents that breach your business’s EPA licence conditions.

Community members or other businesses impacted by odour from your business can report the odour to EPA.

How to respond to an odour complaint

If there is an odour complaint about your business, respond by: 

  • identifying the source. Avoid involving staff who are regularly exposed to activities that generate odour, as they can become desensitised to it 
  • fixing the cause of the odour 
  • keeping people who made the complaint informed, where you can.

Keeping a log of odour complaint details can also help you identify the cause and improve your controls. Your log could include: 

  • complainant details. For example, name, address, contact numbers 
  • wind direction 
  • temperature 
  • time of day 
  • what activities were being undertaken 
  • what you’ve done to fix the problem.

Check and update your controls

The general environmental duty requires you to eliminate or reduce the risks of harm to human health and the environment as far as reasonably practicable.

As part of this duty, make sure the controls you put in place to eliminate or reduce risks are effective and working as planned. Following a risk management process can help you do this.

Controls may fail due to lack of maintenance, poor implementation or changing site conditions.

If your controls are not effective or working as planned, you’ll need to understand the reason why and take action. This could include reviewing when and how often the control is maintained, upgrading to a different control or considering additional controls.

Find out how to control odour from your business.  

To make sure your management of risk is ongoing, you should continually repeat the risk management process.

Read next

About managing odour hazards and risks

What you can do to prevent harm from odour  

Work-based odour examples

Read more about odour

About odour

Odour and the law

Describing what odour smells like

Odour and EPA’s role 

Reviewed 20 July 2021