EPA’s odour list helps you identify an odour – for example, odour from animals, chemicals, burning or cooking. 

When you report odour to EPA, use this list to describe it. 

It helps us if your odour report is as detailed as possible. This is so we can respond quickly and effectively.

Identify the odour 


  • Nutty or grain
  • Fried, oily or fatty
  • Coffee (burnt or roast)
  • Meaty (cooked or burnt).

Hydrocarbon or fuel

  • Gas (mercaptan)
  • Petrol
  • Bitumen or tar
  • Diesel
  • Oil or grease.

Vegetable origin

  • Compost or mulch
  • Garlic or onion
  • Yeast or fermented
  • Woody or resinous
  • Paper or pulp
  • Cabbage
  • Seaweed.

Chemical or solvent

  • Alcohol or medicinal
  • Paint thinners, spray paint (acetone)
  • Sour or acidic
  • Metallic or foundry
  • Sweet
  • Ammonia
  • Chlorine.

Animal origin

  • Skin or hides
  • Urine (uric acid/ammonia)
  • Manure (faeces)
  • Chicken or poultry farm
  • Fishy (amines)
  • Livestock
  • Rendering.

Rottingor putrid

  • Garbage or rubbish
  • Rotten eggs
  • Decayed organics or compost
  • Sewage or septic
  • Milk or dairy (rancid)
  • Dead animal or rotten meat 
  • Grease trap.

Burnt or smoky

  • Rubber
  • Plastic
  • Feathers or hair
  • Wood or woodsmoke
  • Waste or landfill

Download the odour chart

Read more about odour

About odour

Odour: the law

Odour: EPA's role

Reviewed 15 September 2023