State steps up to tackle Swanbank's big stink

AN INSTRUMENT worth $140,000 is set to help State Government and council get to the bottom of Swanbank's big stink.

A selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry (SIFT-MS) instrument is scheduled to be operational in early 2017 and can continuously measure volatile organic compounds, some of which are known to cause odour.

Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles said spikes in odour complaints during warmer months over the past three years had reinforced the necessity for the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection to work closely with other regulatory agencies.

The department was today involved in the Environmental Waste Industry Summit to collaborate with stakeholders to help pinpoint the source of nuisance odours.

"The department has established implementing a Targeted Compliance Program, which brings together parties whose roles and responsibilities are relevant to this issue," Dr Miles said.

"Compared to traditional monitoring methods for VOCs involving samples of air being collected and sent to a laboratory for analysis, the SIFT-MS instrument provides results in real-time.

"This, together with wind direction measurements in real-time, will assist with identification of likely sources of the VOCs associated with odour episodes."

EHP's Targeted Compliance Project includes representatives from Ipswich City Council, Queensland Health, and the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation.

"The project will involve an intensive inspection regime and increased community presence over the upcoming summer months, which is the period that has historically seen odour nuisance to be most prevalent," Dr Miles said.

"The SIFT-MS instrument will be located in communities surrounding the Swanbank area, depending on weather conditions and the time of year.

"Any sites found to be causing unlawful odour nuisance as a result of these investigations will be subject to proportional enforcement action, which may include Penalty Infringement Notices or prosecution."

In the past 12 months, EHP has received 95 odour complaints from 52 members of the public alleging offensive odours from the landfill and waste recycling facilities in the Swanbank area.

"EHP has and will continue to take enforcement action where it finds evidence to do so, including a recent $11,780 fine issued to a Swanbank business for an odour related offence," Dr Miles said.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said today's summit was about stakeholders working as one to resolve the odour issue.

"For too long these odours have been impacting local residents' way of life, causing them significant stress and concern," Cr Pisasale said.

"The message from council to operators is simple, abide by your development application and licensing conditions, play by the rules and keep the impacts of your business within your own block or get out of Ipswich.

"It's great to see council and the state government working together to address these issues."