SE Smells

As many of you have recently noticed our SE smells are back in full force and impacting many in Ward 12. This issue has had a lot of discussion and research put into it and as previously discovered, pinpointing the specific source has proven difficult. We will do our best to keep you updated. 

Previous updates (click to view):

February 2023

October 2022

September 2022   August 2022   July 2022


SE Smells (October 2022 Update)

Although the temperatures are slowly dropping, we are still hearing reports of sporadic odour concerns in the evenings in New Brighton, McKenzie Towne, and Copperfield.

The City’s S.E. Odour investigation project is ongoing. The field scientists collected odour samples throughout the S.E. in late August and early September and are analyzing the 311 data that has been submitted by citizens. They are currently working on their analysis and awaiting lab results. The City is expecting a draft of the consultant’s findings from Task 1 – Preliminary Investigation within the next month or so.

SE Calgary Investigation Timeline

The consultants were able to conduct air sampling for odour “fingerprinting” during the week of August 29 – September 2. This work was moved up in the schedule to try to best replicate summer conditions, as it was a hot week. There is more sampling scheduled for late October, and the team is aware that this will be representative of different conditions. They will account for that as much as possible as we move into computer odour dispersion modelling.


The City has created a webpage dedicated to odours within our area, with more information on common odour causes and the ongoing investigation at


When you notice the odours, please continue to report them to 311.


SE Smells (September 2022 Update)

Thank you to everyone for their support as we continue to work on the odour issues in our ward. Here are the latest updates – please share them with your friends and neighbours in the area so we can keep everyone informed.


  • Odours official investigation – The City of Calgary and Jacobs Engineering

As mentioned last month, an investigation is underway to look into the odour issues around Ward 12. The City is working with third-party vendor Jacobs to pull together relevant data related to potential odour sources. Field work is underway to collect data and samples from the affected areas.

All of us at the Ward 12 office, The City and Jacobs are committed to a thorough investigation being completed. The data and sampling collection is just one component of the work being completed and further steps will be determined as we move along the process.  We appreciate your patience on the matter as we work to find solutions and will keep you informed on how the investigation is going.


  • Composting Facility maintenance

The composting facility’s planned biofilter maintenance began at the end of August with continued work throughout the Fall. The air inside the facility is scrubbed and run through this biofilter before being released outdoors. Learn more about how the composting facility works here:


  • Communications improvements for residents

Work is underway to add an odour service request to the 311 online portal on Calgary 311. This will make it easier for you to report any odour issues through an online service request. In the meantime, you can report them under "Report Concern Not Listed". You may also continue to call 311 if you prefer. If you do report odour concerns to 311, please include the time and place you noticed the odour (as accurately as you can). The more detailed information we have, the better!

A webpage is also being planned to house information about the ongoing odours information in the S.E. and provide a hub for future updates for residents. We will share links to these new online features as soon as they are available.

SE Smells (August 2022 Update)

Thank you to those who have taken the time to voice your concerns through 311 about odour issues in our ward. Our office continues to receive reports of odour in our communities. Starting, July 15th, The City of Calgary also saw an increase in reports to 311 related to odour concerns in SE communities. The City received 167 odour reports in July and a full investigation into the odour issues has been launched. Prior to this July, The City had only received 36 odour complaints since the opening of the compost facility in July of 2017.


While this investigation will take some time, we will continue to share information as it is made available over the coming months. In the meantime, to try to help minimize any potential contributions to odour from the Calgary Composting Facility, The City has directed the operator to take the following steps:

  • Cease any operations on the storage pad after 5 pm;
  • Evaluate the HVAC system that prevents odour from exiting through the facility loading doors when they are open to ensure it is operating effectively;
  • Avoid leaving any of the tipping floor doors open for any purpose other than allowing a vehicle to actively enter or exit. 


Please continue to report odour concerns through 311, each report is important to The City’s investigation into the sources of these odours and potential solutions. We encourage you to call 311 to report odours or if you want to report through the 311 webpage or app use the “Report Concern Not Listed” category (311 is working to add “odour concern” as a selection category). Please include all the details, including: your location when you noticed the smell, the time (ideally the start and end of when you noticed it), and a description of the smell (“hot garbage”, “dirty diaper”, “rotten eggs” – don’t hold back Ward 12). 

SE Smells (July 2022 Update)

As many of you have recently noticed our SE smells are back in full force and impacting many in Ward 12. This issue has had a lot of discussion and research put into it and as previously discovered, pinpointing the specific source has proven difficult.

The City is again investigating what the source and cause the odours are in the area, what they are connected to, and what might be done. Although it’s an obvious assumption to think that a sour garbage-like smell is coming from the landfill, we have been assured many times that this is not the source. Our team toured the landfill, composting facility, and bio-solid lagoons in the Spring and we were amazed at how little odour there was standing right next to the dump.

While it may seem convenient for The City we do live in an area that is surrounded by many different potential causes of odours including agricultural and livestock operations to the east of us, and alkaline wetland ponds scattered around us. The odours that come off the wetlands can be particularly pungent as they dry out.

The Shepard Waste Management Facility and Calgary Composting Facility continue to pass strict regulatory checks and balances related to odour mitigation. It is not common to have a city build residential neighbourhoods around a landfill and as such we promise to remain vigilant as an office and follow up on potential odour sources and mitigation efforts.

You can help the investigation by reporting exactly when, where, and what kind of smell to 311 (either through the website, app or by phone) so that information can be gathered to help direct investigations. You can also reach out to our office by emailing [email protected] to let us know what you are experiencing so we can be aware of when and where we need to advocate.


Further Q&A received from Administration:


How does The City deal with odours at the composting facility?

Odour management is a priority for the Calgary Composting Facility. We realize that commercial composting can create odours, so The City has invested in odour control systems to manage this. The primary strategy to control odour is to contain all material received and active composting operations within the facility. This way the air inside the facility can be scrubbed for ammonia removal and run through a biofilter before being released outdoors.  


Does The City do any odor monitoring? How do you monitor for odour?

  • Chinook Resource Management Group (the operators of the facility) are contractually required to manage odours from the facility so that they remain below an acceptable level.
  • This is verified annually by a detailed scientific process that includes collecting air samples for analysis of odour levels. These odour samples are then put into a computer model that factors in local weather based on historic data, and calculates odour levels that might leave the site under all expected weather conditions.
  • So far, these computer models have shown that odour from the composting facility should not be detectable in neighbouring communities.


What odour improvements have been put in place?

  • Over the past several months, the facility operator has:
    • increased the strength of the solution being used in the air scrubbers
    • reduced the amount of finished compost stockpiled on site by over 60%
    • reduced how often ‘fresh’ compost is handled by allowing it to age longer before handling


What other odour mitigation can/will be done?

  • The facility will be replacing the biofilter material in 2022.
  • The City is looking at ways to do more detailed investigations of each part of the process, to confirm the source of any odour and focus efforts to reduce it.
  • The City and the facility are working with experts from across North America to look into other innovative solutions.


How can I make a complaint about odour that appears to originate from the composting facility?

  • If you notice an odour issue in your community, please contact 311 to report the issue. Please be specific with details such as date, time, location, duration, description of odour, etc.
  • The City will review your inquiry to send it to the correct department. Odour is difficult to investigate as it can be fleeting, difficult to describe, and produces different reactions from person to person. For this reason, The City will reach out to you for additional information to help locate the source of any odour issue so that we know where to concentrate efforts to resolve it.
  • These investigations are necessary to confirm whether the composting facility is the source of the odour, as there are various industrial and agricultural operations in the area, along with wetlands.


You can also read more about our incredible compost facility here: How the Calgary Composting Facility works



  • Evan Spencer
    published this page in Blog 2022-07-20 16:21:51 -0600