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Strong opposition to organic recycling facilities, particularly on the ground of odour, can make it challenging to successfully site such facilities.  A recent decision of the Alberta Environmental Appeal Board illustrates the “state of art” in regulatory approvals for sites with significant odour challenges; in this case, a biogas facility.This includes a detailed odour complaint management and response plan, which requires the facility to take steps to stop offensive odours within two weeks unless an extension is granted by the Director.  Other conditions include: all organic material must be handled and processed indoors; negative pressure in the receiving/unloading area of the process building; air curtains to prevent odours from escaping when the doors are opened; doors to be kept closed except during entry and exit of vehicles; enclosed storage of all feed stock.  When necessary to avoid odour problems, problem feed stocks must be eliminated and/or process rates must be decreased.  The odour complaint management and response plan must be updated annually “to ensure continuous improvement and effectiveness”.  In addition, a flare stack must be provided to thermally destroy the biogas in emergencies.  On this basis, the appeal was dismissed and the biogas project was approved. Viponds v. Director, Southern Region, Environmental Management, Alberta Environment.


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