Dynamic olfactometry and sample toxicity. a case study for a MSW incinerator odour assessment project

Enrico Davoli, Ettore Zuccato, Giancarlo Bianchi, Massimiliano Il Grande, Simone Bonati, Andrea N. Rossi, Clemente Porporato, Massimiliano Pereno, Simona Soldati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study reported in this paper is focused on occupational exposure to potential toxic compounds for employees working in dynamic olfactometry, following EN 13725:2003 standard procedures. Municipal solid waste (MSW) incineration plants, typically, have authorized stack emissions for primary pollutants (like CO, NOx, particulate), for selected trace organics (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) or dioxins), metals or for total organic compounds (TOC). Odour control is limited on recommendations of good practices for the waste receiving areas and storage, generally on the air management systems. In Italy there is an increasingly number of requests, to environmental inspection authorities, Agenzia Regionale per la Protezione Ambientale (ARPA), Regional Environment Agency, to quantitatively describe possible odour annoyance effects from different industrial plants, including MSW incineration plants. Recently ARPA Piemonte has been asked to perform one odour survey for the newly incinerator for the city of Torino, that burns 500,000 t/y of MSW recovering energy through cogeneration. The plant is equipped with a pollutant's automated measuring system (AMS) to assess the compliance with the emission limit values, but not to measure odour emissions. For this reason, it is necessary to assess odour emissions as well, in order to prepare an exhaustive environmental odour scenario for the whole area. We recently presented a risk assessment approach, to evaluate non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic compounds for different sample types, based on STEL or TWA data, or EPA slope factors values respectively. It has been decide to follow this approach to define potential sample toxicity (PT), using the different risk occupational scenarios proposed, before odour concentration analysis of stack emissions samples. Using emission limit values that are set in the permit, PT has been defined. Since samples are presented to assessors in an ascending concentration series, workers exposure has been limited to acceptable levels defining the specific minimum dilution value to be used in the ARPA Piemonte olfactometric laboratory standard procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-18
Number of pages6
JournalChemical Engineering Transactions
Publication statusPublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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