Air Environment worked with the Northern Australia Beef Plant in the Northern Territory when odour from wastewater led to community complaints.
Air Environment’s Director, Andrew Balch, explained: “We got involved in the project quite late by our normal standards. We like to start at the concept design phase, but we also enjoy the challenge of finding solutions that can be retrofit.
“This new abattoir and rendering plant had passed through the environmental approvals process and been built. It was just starting to process animals and was only operating at about 10 per cent capacity. The EPA felt they wanted to see some more details on the potential air quality impacts, particularly on the odour side of things. So we took a look.”
Andrew continued: “We did a preliminary ‘what if’ assessment, because production at that point was still minimal, and we raised concerns about potential odour from wastewater. And as expected, when production began to increase so too did the odour complaints from the local community. So we went back and designed an odour sampling and testing program and did some very detailed odour dispersion modelling. As the preliminary assessment had suggested, wastewater was clearly the problem.
“We then worked with the wastewater treatment plant designers to overhaul the original design. We conducted a series of odour modelling scenarios to look at optimising the treatment process and location of treatment ponds and the irrigation system.
“It was a great project to work on. It certainly had its challenges along the way, but in the end strong science made the right solution clear.”