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Online odour complaint form

What is an unreasonable odour?

Odour is experienced when one or more chemical compounds in a gaseous form stimulate the sense of smell. Reaction to odours is subjective. An odour may be pleasant to one person and unpleasant to someone else.

Not all odours are covered by legislation. Generally only ‘unreasonable’ or ‘offensive’ odours are regulated. An odour may be considered unreasonable as defined under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 if it unreasonably interferes with the health, welfare, convenience, comfort or amenity of any person.

There are no reliable and accurate machines that can measure odour or annoyance. The frequency, intensity, duration, pleasantness and location, as well as the impacts on normal activities are parameters that can be used to determine the level of interference with the amenity that a person may experience.

Reporting odours

Unreasonable odours are regulated under different laws including health and local laws that are generally enforced by local governments. Offensive odour emissions from small businesses such as food premises, premises keeping animals, or commercial activities are generally managed and investigated by local government. You can contact your local council through the follow online local government directory

DWER generally regulates large industries that are licensed under the Environmental Protection Act 1986. You can access a list of licensed premises here. If you’re impacted by unreasonable odours from a licensed facility, then you can report it to Pollution Watch Hotline by calling our 24-hour pollution hotline on 1300 784 782 or submitting an online form.

If you are being impacted by an odour that is causing serious and immediate health impacts, it may be considered a hazardous materials emergency you should call 000.

Odours from potential natural gas leaks should be reported to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services on 000 or ATCO gas Faults & Emergencies on 13 13 52

If you are regularly impacted by offensive odour it is recommended that you keep a diary to help remember the details of the incidents or report the incident as soon as possible. Note in your diary may include time, date, weather conditions and what you experienced and observed. This will assist any investigation.