SE Smells (July, 2022)

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.

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