The smell of progress: The role technology now plays in responding to odour complaints at landfills

How are technological advancements supporting an industry that processes 2.01 billion tons of our waste annually?


5 min

It’s no secret that growing populations create a mountain of waste. It’s also no surprise that despite well-intended reduction efforts making a difference, there are still 2.01 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste annually. 
Landfills remain essential for managing this sustainably in today’s society. They safely store unwanted materials – from household trash to construction debris – preventing them from contaminating our environment. Landfills even contribute to a greener future by capturing methane gas emissions and converting them into clean energy.  

However, odour control remains a challenge, impacting nearby communities. New technologies are emerging to address this, ensuring landfills can continue their vital role in a sustainable way. 

Landfills vs. Nearby Communities. What are the real issues? 

Landfills have certain processes which at times can impact communities if they are not careful. Operations conducted by landfills can pose challenges to nearby communities if not managed correctly that can lead to complaints directed at the facility. While modern landfills implement various mitigation strategies to address these issues, the potential for environmental and community impact remains. It's their responsibility to continuously monitor and improve their practices to minimize these impacts and foster positive relationships with the communities that they serve. 

The frustration and resentment caused by these odour complaints create tension between landfill operators and communities. Residents feel their well-being is disregarded, while landfills struggle to balance effective waste management while minimising their impact on nearby communities. Finding a solution requires innovative technologies and a commitment to open communication from both parties. 

Are landfills addressing these issues effectively?  

Landfills face a growing challenge in tackling odour complaints from nearby communities. Traditional methods like gas collection systems and daily waste cover offer some relief, but they have limitations. One key issue is the inability to effectively utilise data. Current monitoring systems may capture odour information, but landfills often lack the tools to analyse it in real-time and pinpoint the source. This reactive approach leads to delays in addressing odour events, leaving residents frustrated and exposed for extended periods. 

Furthermore, traditional methods can be disruptive and time-consuming. Investigating complaints often involves shutting down operations or rerouting waste streams, impacting efficiency and revenue. Landfills need a more proactive approach that leverages data insights to prevent odour issues before they disrupt operations and impact communities. 

Transforming odour control with cutting-edge technology 

Advanced technology offers innovative solutions to mitigate and address odour complaints from neighbouring communities near landfills. By employing real-time monitoring systems capable of detecting odours at incredibly low concentrations, landfills gain immediate insight into odour emissions. This enables prompt action to identify and rectify any issues before they escalate.  

Moreover, trajectory modeling tools utilise data to trace the path of odours, pinpointing their exact source within the landfill site. This targeted approach streamlines mitigation efforts, minimising disruption to surrounding communities. Integrating weather forecasting data into odour management systems also enhances predictive capabilities, allowing landfills to anticipate and proactively manage odour dispersion under varying weather conditions. By harnessing these technological advancements, landfills can effectively address odour concerns, fostering better relations with nearby residents and promoting environmental stewardship within the community. 

Introducing Omnis: Environmental Intelligence to respond to odour at your landfill

Envirosuite's Omnis platform equips landfill operators with powerful tools to tackle odour management effectively by: 

  • Rapid Analysis of Community Complaints: Landfill operators can respond transparently to odour concerns from nearby communities. Omnis automates community engagement, streamlining complaint management with proprietary algorithms that verify complaints while fostering transparent communication. 

  • Locating Problematic Emissions: Landfills can automate data collection to identify and address problematic emissions from composting sources, reducing mitigation costs and targeting areas needing attention. 

  • Minimising Operational Stoppages: Operators can plan ahead with hyperlocal weather forecasts, dynamic scenario modelling, and predictive alerting to mitigate community impact and identify efficiency gains across the site.  

Find out more about how Omnis empowers landfills to be good neighbours by proactively addressing odour concerns, fostering positive relations, reducing complaints, and fulfilling waste management responsibilities.