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Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant (ABTP) is a large sewage treatment facility with an operating capacity of 818,000 cubic metres per day. ABTP serves an estimated connected population of 1.25 million and is managed and operated by the Water Pollution Control Division of the Works and Emergency Services Department of the City of Toronto. ABTP is located on the shores of Lake Ontario. Over the year residents who live in the neighbouring community have complained of foul odours associated with the plant. Several odour abatement measures have been taken in the last three to four decades to combat the odour nuisance impact in the community. However these measures did not totally control the odou problem.

In April 2001, the City of Toronto in consultation with the Neighborhood Liaison Committee (NLC) selected a firm that specializes in resolving odour impact issues. The objective was to conduct a plant-wide odour assessment in order to quantify the impact and to formulate recommendations to mitigate the odour nuisance problem.

This paper describes the high level of involvement and active participation of the affected community during the conduct of the project from defining the scope of work to selection of consultants to convening regular monthly progress meetings and presentations to the community members and finally the detailed review and approval of the consultants' recommendations. The close and steady involvement of the representatives of the affected community throughout the project helped build a trusting relationship between the NLC, the City and the consultants. Over time a positive feeling was developed resulting in a truly cooperative approach to resolving what after all was a community problem. The positive rapport generated continued right through the detailed review and approval of the consultants' recommendations for impact reduction strategies. The paper also describes the procedure developed for responding to community odour complaints during the implementation phase of the recommended impact reduction measures over the next few years.

This paper will be useful to utility managers, consultants and community groups who need to work together to solve an often difficult problem that can affect many peoples quality of life.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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