We have installed odour detection monitors at several locations around Eastern Creek and Minchinbury. These help us measure and monitor hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg gas) in the area. Information from the monitors, along with odour patrols by EPA officers and any odour reports from the community, help the EPA to check that our requirements on potentially odorous activities such as the Bingo Dial A Dump facility are working.
Installation of monitors
The EPA has installed seven monitors in the Minchinbury and Eastern Creek area to detect hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg gas), which has been the main type of odour reported by the community. Four of the monitors are in the Eastern Creek industrial area close to the landfill, three are in the Minchinbury residential area.
How do the monitors work?
The monitors are small (about the size of a litre carton of milk) and automatic. They take an air sample every 10 minutes and analyse it for hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg gas).
They can detect levels as low as 0.003 parts of hydrogen sulfide per million parts of air (ppm), and as high as 2 ppm.
About half of people can smell hydrogen sulfide at a concentration of around 0.008 parts hydrogen sulphide per million parts of air (ppm), but some people can smell it at 0.0005 ppm while others first smell it at 0.3 ppm.
The monitors are connected to the existing mobile phone network, and every 12 hours they transmit the data collected to the EPA.
The readings will be updated twice a week.
What do the charts show?
These charts show the results from the seven hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg gas) monitors that the EPA has set up – four near the landfill in Eastern Creek and three in Minchinbury in residential areas.
They show the concentration detected in each 10 minute sample of air collected by the monitor.
A vertical (up and down) line indicates where the monitor has detected hydrogen sulfide in a 10 minute sample, with the concentration of that detection indicated by the height of the line.
You can see what the concentration of a particular detection was by looking across to the numbers shown on the vertical axis on the left of the chart.
Do the odours cause health impacts?
(Information provided by NSW Health)
People can smell hydrogen sulphide (‘rotten egg’ gas) at low levels. About half of people can smell hydrogen sulfide at a concentration of around 0.008 parts hydrogen sulphide per million parts of air (ppm). There is variability in this however – some people can smell it at 0.0005 ppm while others first smell it at 0.3 ppm.
Exposure to these low concentrations of hydrogen sulphide may cause irritation to the eyes, nose or throat, and difficulties in breathing in people with asthma. Repeated exposures at these levels can also understandably cause anxiety and distress and result in indirect symptoms such as headaches and nausea.
These effects are likely to be minor and temporary and should stop once the air quality improves.
Hydrogen sulphide once it enters the body does not accumulate as it is rapidly processed in the liver and excreted in the urine.
If residents are concerned about their symptoms or if symptoms persist once the odours have ceased, they should seek advice from their local General Practitioner.
People who work in some industries are at risk of exposure to higher levels of hydrogen sulphide than the general population.
Community reports can play an import role in the EPA’s investigation of odours.
Important information on odours can be recorded using the EPA fact sheet and odour log sheet (PDF 160KB).
If you are experiencing odour impacts please contact the EPA’s Environment Line on 131 555.