Agriculture odours : an Irish perspective of the nuisance
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Animal numbers have continued to increase over the past decade. Associated with this is an increase in the amount o f animal manures to disposed of. The odours associated with this manure are perceived to be a problem. The extent o f the problem in Ireland has not been quantified. Therefore a survey o f Local Authorities to assess the number o f odour complaints received, was undertaken. Only four Local Authorities were deemed suitable for follow-up contact. The level o f odour complaints is small in comparison to the total number o f agricultural complaints received. Odour pollution is short-lived compared with water pollution. The public are more likely to complain about pollution that is more persistent. They appear to be more “tolerant” o f odours from agriculture. Improvement in the recording system within Local Authorities and better follow-up action would improve the confidence in the odour complaints procedure. Land spreading o f slurry was identified as the commonest source o f odour complaint. It represented 81% of all the agricultural odour complaints received by the four Local Authorities. Land spreading o f slurry in accordance with the Teagasc Code of Good Practice to reduce odour emissions will reduce nuisance. Communication with neighbours who are sensitive to odours, can reduce potential annoyance. Buffer zones can reduce odour nuisance but further research is required regarding the sizing o f these zones. The majority o f slurry is applies using a conventional vacuum tanker with a splash plate. Pig slurry spreading in comparison to other slurry results in a higher level o f complaints. The use of bandspreading o f pig slurry is recommended where odour is giving rise to complaints. The various treatment options o f slurry were reviewed. Technologies such as aerobic and anaerobic digestion are effective odour control strategies. However, they are expensive. Other odour control methods including mechanical separation, incorporation into soil, composting, additives, dietary control, bio scrubbers and biofilters are considered.
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