About odour, noise and air quality in Sunshine North

In 2020, EPA received a large increase in odour and noise pollution reports from the Sunshine North community. We found the odour and noise came from the Akzo Nobel site in McIntyre Road, Sunshine North.

Under its EPA licence, Akzo Nobel can’t discharge, emit or release offensive odours beyond its site boundaries.

The main odour comes from the site’s resin manufacturing activity. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) used in this activity can cause offensive odour. VOCs may contain oxygen, nitrogen, and other carbon chain compounds.

In December 2020, EPA issued Akzo Nobel with a remedial notice to put in place by 25 January 2021 an air monitoring program for VOCs generated from its resin plant. This is to keep the community informed about air quality near its site. EPA has reviewed the data provided as part of this monitoring plan. We found that VOC levels are below the relevant human health standards and unlikely to pose a risk to human health in the community. This monitoring will continue until a a long-term engendering control is installed..

Under its licence, Akzo Nobel must make sure its total VOC emissions are no more than 241 g/min. Independent air monitoring on 5 February 2020 showed Akzo Nobel was complying with this condition of its licence.

EPA has also issued Akzo Nobel with a further remedial notice on 25 March 2021. This notice requires:

  • longer-term fix to engineered odour controls by 21 October 2021
  • odour minimisation plans in the meantime
  • and a communications and engagement plan by 28 April 2021. 

EPA continues to review any information and developments with this issue in line with our Compliance and Enforcement Policy and will take any action against breaches of the law.

How odour from VOCs can impact human health

How we sense odour varies from person to person. People may also react to odours in different ways.

In most cases, people notice odours from VOCs at levels well below those that could impact their health. Even low levels of these odours can, however, cause:

  • low mood
  • anxiety and stress
  • eye, nose, throat or lung irritation.

If odour makes you feel unwell, you can:

  • call NURSE ON CALL on 1300 60 60 24
  • visit a doctor
  • switch your air conditioner to ‘recirculate’
  • keep your windows and doors shut.

About EPA’s role in reducing odour and noise from the Akzo Nobel site

As Victoria’s environmental regulator, EPA’s role at the Akzo Nobel site is to:

  • check and enforce compliance with the Environment Protection Act 1970
  • prevent and reduce risks to human health and the environment.

We’re working closely with Akzo Nobel and the community to protect human health and the environment in Sunshine North. 

How EPA’s working to prevent odour from the Akzo Nobel site

We’re seeking a long-term solution to community concerns about odour from Akzo Nobel’s site. In response to recent odour reports, we’ve been on-site at Akzo Nobel and nearby residential areas regularly to assess the odour issue and its impacts.

In response to current and previous compliance and enforcement action, Akzo Nobel plans to build an air treatment system to control odour from its resin manufacturing activity. In March 2021, we served a new remedial notice to Akzo Nobel requiring the company to build this system. As part of this, we requested Akzo Nobel to gain formal approval from us to carry out the works. This ensured all human health and environment impacts are considered.

Akzo Nobel’s solution appears likely to achieve ongoing odour reduction. However, it’s a large project and unlikely to be controlling odour before October 2021. With that in mind, Akzo Nobel has recently improved aspects of its resin manufacturing process to prevent odour emissions from the site. We have also asked them to provide us a plan to further minimise these odour emissions in the meantime.

We conduct regular inspections to check Akzo Nobel's compliance with our notices.

How EPA’s working to prevent noise from the Akzo Nobel site

In November 2020, we put in place a noise monitor to measure noise levels at a Sunshine North residence. Results showed noise levels were higher than noise legislation permits.

In December 2020, we served Akzo Nobel with a remedial notice that requires it to control noise from its site.

Compliance and enforcement action EPA has taken on this issue

In September 2019, after previous pollution reports and our investigations, we issued AkzoNobel with a remedial notice. This required Akzo Nobel to:

  • create a plan to control odour from its premises
  • carry out that plan to prevent odours from impacting local air quality.

Akzo Nobel didn’t fully comply with the notice’s first requirement by the 31 December 2019 due date. In May 2020, we gave the company an Official Warning for this offence.

EPA continues to regularly assess and enforce compliance with the current regulatory notices and licence for the Akzo Nobel site. Any non-compliances and potential breaches of the law are considered against our Compliance and Enforcement Policy (publication 1798).

How to stay informed about and report odour and noise from Akzo Nobel

We’ll provide on this page the latest information about odour and noise from Akzo Nobel. We’ll continue to give information to local residents and also share this information with other agencies including Brimbank City Council.

AkzoNobel now has a Sunshine North community webpage, on which all community information, fact sheets on odour and noise, meeting notes, and forum videos will be stored. Vietnamese translations of the fact sheets are available.

Further information including recordings of past community forums are available on Akzo Nobel’s Sunshine North community webpage.

The next Akzo Nobel online community forum is on Tuesday 26 October from 6.15 – 7.45 pm. EPA will attend and provide an update on our actions and answer questions.

Akzo Nobel invites Sunshine North residents to register and lodge questions in advance. You can contact Akzo Nobel on 03 9313 4555 about the forums, or any noise and odour concerns.

You can report odour to EPA. To report noise, or for more information about odour and noise at Akzo Nobel, contact us or call us on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC). We’re here 24 hours.

Reviewed 22 October 2021