WBEA Odour Monitoring Program

The WBEA Odour Monitoring Program (previously the Human Exposure Monitoring Program) is focused on detecting and identifying odour events and odour causing compounds.

Since 2016, the WBEA has been working on developing a brand-new method of capturing and identifying Reduced Sulphur Compounds (RSCs). The term “Reduced Sulphur Compounds” covers a larger group of sulphur-containing compounds, including H2S, carbonyl sulphide, mercaptans, etc. These substances have the potential to cause odours in the region. In the WBEA airshed most industrial RSC emissions are from upgraders and tailings ponds, though there is a natural background ambient air concentration of the reduced sulphur compound carbonyl sulphide of approximately 0.5 ppb.

The issue is that current continuous ambient air technology can only tell us the total concentration of RSCs in the air, and cannot tell us which compounds are present, and may be responsible for odours. Therefore, the WBEA is working with a laboratory to develop a new method that consists of collecting air samples in pre-treated tubes when the ambient concentration of RSCs reaches a certain threshold, and then sending the tubes to the lab for analysis.

Method development is currently ongoing.