From our Chair: Solving Bromley's odour issues

It was pleasing to finally confirm significant sources of problem odours in Bromley. We can now focus on improving the situation.

Jenny Hughey

Environment Canterbury Chair Jenny Hughey

I really feel for Bromley residents, some of whom have for years endured problem odours.

Identifying and addressing complex odour issues is no easy task and the methods Councils around the country use to trace odour just did not work in Bromley. I am really glad we are now able to narrow down the sources and take action.

There are about 200 businesses in Bromley and many of them could emit odour – seafood processors, fibre-glass manufacturers, scrap metal recycling and many of the city’s essential services such as the wastewater treatment plant, composting facility and Metro transfer station. Even the estuary emits odour under certain conditions.

About the pilot study

The Environment Canterbury-Christchurch City Council (CCC) pilot study has been the innovative solution needed to move forward.

This pilot was able to combine three separate and independent data sources - community odour reports, crowd-sourced via a mobile app, on-the-ground assessments by trained assessors – with weather information, which enabled us to model odour plumes in real-time, finally providing the picture needed to take action. It’s great that the community have been part of that solution.

We all wish we could have reached this point sooner but it needed this new way of using technology and a different approach to data capture – and enabling the involvement of the community – to have enough certainty of the source to take action.

Find out more about the joint project.

Taking action to resolve problem odours

It’s now well-known that the pilot study indicated Living Earth and EcoDrop to be significant contributors to problem odours in Bromley.

The Christchurch City Council has committed to taking action and working to reduce these odours as quickly as possible.

Environment Canterbury will work with the city council on this and continue to monitor odour over the coming months to ensure these reductions occur.

Environment Canterbury will also be working with other Bromley businesses which might emit odour, and continue to investigate the possibility that some odours combine, creating a worse one.

Some in the Bromley community have asked why Environment Canterbury has not taken enforcement action. Enforcement action remains an option, but the collaborative approach we’re taking is the quickest way to improve the situation. We are very clear we expect to see noticeable improvement within the next three months.

Smelt it - report it

We still need the community’s help and encourage Bromley residents to continue to report odour – preferably via the 'Smelt-It' reporting app – so we know if these efforts are working or not.