Lessons learned in the elaboration of the first odour regulation in Chile

dcaimanque3   Chile is now undertaking the preparation of three odour regulations for: Swine's farms, the sea products processing plants and it has started the process of reviewing the emission standard for pulp mills. Carrying out regulatory processes to solve the issue of annoying odours is not an easy job, because it has different characteristics compared to the rest of the atmospheric pollutants.

   However, the development of normative processes in Chile has so far provided important learning instances for each of the obstacles that have had to be overcome. Thus, the main objective of this work is to disseminate three lessons learned from the odour standards development processes in Chile. The results of this work are expected to contribute to other normative processes that will be initiated, particularly in Latin American countries.

 D. Caimanque
Noise, Light and Odour Department
Air Quality Division, Ministry of the Environment of Chile
San Martín 73, Santiago – Chile

 

   Competing interests: The author has declared that no competing interests exist.

   Academic editor:  Carloz N. Díaz

   Content quality: This paper has been peer-reviewed by at least two reviewers. See scientific committee here

   Citation:  D. Caimanque, 2021, Lessons learned in the elaboration of the first odour regulation in Chile, 9th IWA Odour& VOC/Air Emission Conference, Bilbao, Spain, Olores.org.

   Copyright:  2021 Olores.org. Open Content  Creative Commons license. It is allowed to download, reuse, reprint, modify, distribute, and / or copy articles in olores.org website, as long as the original authors and source are cited. No permission is required from the authors or the publishers.

   ISBN: 978-84-09-37032-0

   Keyword: Keyword: Pollution, Air Quality, Odour, Public Policy, Environment, Regulation, Ministry of Environment.

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Abstract

   Chile is now undertaking the preparation of three odour regulations for: Swine's farms, the sea products processing plants and it has started the process of reviewing the emission standard for pulp mills. Carrying out regulatory processes to solve the issue of annoying odours is not an easy job, because it has different characteristics compared to the rest of the atmospheric pollutants. However, the development of normative processes in Chile has so far provided important learning instances for each of the obstacles that have had to be overcome. Thus, the main objective of this work is to disseminate three lessons learned from the odour standards development processes in Chile. The results of this work are expected to contribute to other normative processes that will be initiated, particularly in Latin American countries.

 

1. Introduction

  Currently, the Chilean Ministry of the Environment has begun the process of developing two odour emission standards for the following sectors: Swine's farms (swine sector) and sea products processing plants (fishing industry). In addition, it has started the process of reviewing the emission standard for pulp mills, whose emissions of hydrogen sulfide compound and mercaptans (TRS gases) generate annoying odours. The preceding statements are framed in the deployment of the Strategy for the Management of Odours in Chile (Ministry of the Environment of Chile, 2017) and the Environmental Regulation Program 2020-2021.

   Each of these regulations is in a different stage of advancement, as its shown in figure 1. The standard for the swine sector presented 309 observations in its public consultation stage (Ministry of the Environment, 2021) and is currently in the elaboration of its final project. Secondly, there is the standard for the fishing industry, which is in the preliminary draft stage. The revision of the standard for pulp mills is also in the preliminary draft stage, a process that has recently begun in January 2021.

Figure 1: Stages of development of environmental standards in Chile and status of each standard odour.

dcaimanque1

 

   It is noteworthy that since 2017 the Ministry of the Environment has a specific Department of Odours that is in charge of odor control management, a particular advance considering that not many countries have this type a specific working team in their Ministries, but they do in countries such as the Netherlands or Germany (Díaz et al., 2019). This working team has been in charge of leading the odor regulatory processes together with a multidisciplinary team.

   Carrying out regulatory processes to solve the issue of annoying odours is not an easy job, because it has different characteristics compared to the rest of the atmospheric pollutants. Therefore, it is important to consider integrated approaches to obtain the broadest vision of the problem generated by odours. (Bokowa et al. 2021).

   With the exposed background, the question arises: How can be solved the obstacles faced in the development of odour standards? To answer this question, the development of normative processes in Chile has so far provided important learning instances for each of the obstacles that have had to be overcome. Thus, the main objective of this work is to disseminate three lessons learned from the odour standards development processes in Chile. The results of this work are expected to contribute to other normative processes that will be initiated, particularly in Latin American countries.

 

2. Results and discussion

2.1 Where to start? The importance of diagnosis

   The first obstacle to the regulation of odours originates in the diversity and quantity of establishments that emit odours and that affect people's quality of life, which complicates the diagnosis of the situation of odour emission in the country. In Chile, around two thousand establishments belonging to 12 activities potentially generating annoying odours have been identified. (ECOTEC 2013). Therefore, one of the first steps of the Strategy for Odour Management in Chile was to prioritize sectors for the development of odour regulations. As a part of the diagnosis, it was also necessary to identify the causes that originate odour emissions and their technological choices, by sector. In this way, thanks to the fulfilled diagnosis, it was possible to identify the sample of establishments that needs to be regulated (Table 1) and to identify the singularities of each productive sector.


Table 1. Number of regulated establishments for each regulated sector

  Swine Sector Fishing Industry Pulp Mills
No. of estabishments 85 33 8

   The method statement to diagnose the singularities of the swine sector was to effectuate a background study for the elaboration of the regulations. On the other hand, the methodology to collect information in the fishing sector was to interview each of the Plant Managers through online meetings, achieving to contact all the regulated plants in a period of two months, which allowed to obtain relevant technical information for the suggested of measures. In this way, three variations were identified between the swine sector and the fishing industry, which are detailed in Table 2.

Table 2. Variations identified between the Swine and Fishing Sector

  Swine Sector Fishing Industry
Location Mainly Rural Area (1) Mainly Urban area
Odour emission regime Continuous Discontinued, it depends on the availability of fishing
Odour source type Mainly diffuse Mainly detailed

(1) 100% of the headquarters that have the category of “large” by the regulation in preparation, are in rural areas.

   From the results of Table 2, the difficulty of proposing exclusive measures applicable to different productive sectors is visualized, because the technological solutions are different for each sector, as well as their operational practices and the situation with the closest receivers. For the pulp mill sector, the diagnostic stage has not yet begun, but a similar situation is expected.

2.2 Look beyond the "gold" standard, diversify approaches.

   The second obstacle is the intricacy of establishing a structure for the regulation of odours, considering the national reality of the prioritized sectors. Within the existing literature and international experience, it is stated that among the most common approaches for the regulation of odours it considers the measurement at the emission point and its evaluation at the inmission point of it, thanks to the use of an atmospheric dispersion model. This approach has been considered the gold standard to detect odour impact evaluations and to calculate the separation distances (Invernizzi et al., 2020). In the case of Chile, this approach was considered, and others were incorporated according to the results of the diagnosis.

   Inside the diagnosis of the swine sector, were identified from 750 to nearly 400,000 animals’ establishments to regulate, placing significant differences, even though it was the same sector. For this reason, the proposed draft standard for odours for swine farms contemplates staggered measures by the size of each farm (whether small, medium, or large), with a technological approach (Caimanque and Salas, 2017). Thus, the regulatory proposal is only to establish an odour impact criterion (Table 3) for large swine farms, to 61% of swine production, which contributes considering the number of animals they have.

Table 3. Odour impact criterion for large swine farms.

Limit [ouE/m3

Percentile Annual

5 95

Note: The values correspond to the Draft Standard, which are in evaluation for the Final Project

   For smaller headquarters, were sought different alternatives requirements due to the high costs to meet an odour impact criterion in the first odour standard in Chile. Thus, were established operational practices and best available techniques (BAT) for these facilities. For example, for swine farms that include ponds for slurry storage as part of their production process, they must reduce their emissions at that point, using a technology that allows them to obtain an odour reduction efficiency of 75% or 70% depending on their number of animals. Additionally, it is considered to establish limits in the odour emission rates, accounting for a reduction percentage. And thanks to the amount of information that is going to be obtained, is expected to collect information that will serve for the revision of the standard, where the emission can be regulated and incorporate more demands on smaller headquarters.

   For the other regulatory processes in progress, this type of operational requirement is being evaluated for the fishing industry and pulp mills.

2.3 Developing an odour standard is only a part of the solution.

   The lack of information and knowledge hampered the early initiation of odour regulation in Chile. However, since 2014, the dissemination of the theme of odours based on the Strategy for Odour Management in Chile provoked actions and initiatives both within the public and private sectors, even when there were no odour regulations (Caimanque, 2017). Today, the previous design of actions before the regulation of odours has allowed progress in its development, and its implementation is expected to help. Some examples of these actions are:

  • The homologation of 6 standards for the measurement of odours.1
  • A guide for the prediction and evaluation of odour impact.2
  • An instructive document for the preparation of the Odour Management Plan.3
  • An odours ministerial website. Available in: www.olores.mma.gob.cl


   In this case, the obtained learning is that the beginning of the regulation does not cause the insertion of the theme of odours in the environmental management of public and private organizations without the initiation of other complementary actions. It is necessary to establish prior actions and prepare complimentary technical documents such as protocols, an online reporting system for complaints, guides, along others. This allows addressing the different awns of odour management that the regulation could not address by itself.

1 Available in: www.inn.cl
2 Available in: https://www.sea.gob.cl/
3 Available in: https://olores.mma.gob.cl/planes-de-gestion-de-olor/

 

3.Conclusions

   According to the results presented, the learning for the elaboration of odour regulations has been, that in the first place, there is a need to have a diagnosis of the national reality, since, in the case of Latin American countries: the operating realities of the Emitting sources, land use planning, environmental institutions, among other matters, function differently from the situation on European countries, places where the first odour regulations originated.

   Secondly, the constant learning in the elaboration of current regulations in development is a way to avoid generalizing, since each sector is particular and within each section, huge differences can even be found between one establishment and another, either due to size or modes of operation. Therefore, it is relevant to propose alternative requirements in order to reduce emissions with effective and verifiable measures and including gradualism.

   Third, the existence of obstacles at the beginning of the elaboration of standards, such as lack of generalized knowledge of the subject of odours, political will, lack of odour measurement laboratories, among others, should not prevent actions that could complement future regulations, because it is possible to advance in previous actions that in the future will help to implement the correct regulations.

   Finally, the implementation of odour regulations must be realistic to the country that applies them, thus achieving not only the publication of the standard but also the implementation of the country's first standard for odours, and thus protect the health of the population and improve its quality of life.

 

4. References

   Bokowa, A.; Diaz, C.; Koziel, J.A.; McGinley, M.; Barclay, J.; Schauberger, G.; Guillot, J.-M.; Sneath, R.; Capelli, L.; Zorich, V.; et al. Summary and Overview of the Odou Regulations Worldwide. Atmosphere 2021, 12, 206. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12020206

   Caimanque D. (2017), Odor management in Chile. How far it has progressed? [Gestión de olores en Chile ¿Cuánto hemos avanzado?], IV International Conference on Environmental Odours and VOCs Management, Valladolid, Spain, www.olores.org

   Caimanque D. y Salas J. (2019) Regulatory framework designed in Chile. An integrated perspective. [Propuesta de diseño regulatorio en Chile. Una perspectiva integrada]. V International Conference on Environmental Odour and VOCs Management, Santiago, Chile, www.olores.org

   Diaz C., Izquierdo C., Capelli L., Arias R., Salas Seoane N. (2019) Analysis of existing regulations in odour pollution, odour impact criteria 1, D-NOSES, H2020SwafS-23-2017-789315.
ECOTEC, (2013). Background for the Regulation of Odors in Chile. [Antecedentes para la Regulación de Olores en Chile].
Instituto Nacional de Normalización (2021) Web Site: www.inn.cl

   Invernizzi M., Brancher M., Sironi S., Capelli L., Piringer M., Schauberger G. (2020) Odour impact assessment by considering short-term ambient concentrations: A multi-model and two-site comparison, Environment International, Volume 144, 2020 105990, ISSN 0160-4120, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2020.105990.

   Ministry of the Environment of Chile (2012). Regulation for the elaboration of quality and emission standards. [Reglamento para la elaboración de normas de calidad y de emisión]. Available in: www.bcn.cl (date of reference 05.05.21)

   Ministry of the Environment of Chile (2017). Strategy for Odor Management in Chile. [Estrategia para la Gestión de Olores en Chile]. Available in: www.olores.mma.gob.cl (date of reference 05.15.21)

   Ministry of the Environment of Chile (2020). Preliminary draft of the odor standard for swine farms. Available in: https://planesynormas.mma.gob.cl/ (date of reference 05.15.21)

   Ministry of the Environment of Chile (2021) Public consultation of preliminary draft of the odor standard for swine farms. Available in: www.consultasciudadanas.mma.gob.cl (date of reference 05.15.21)

   Servicio de Evaluación Ambiental, SEA (2017). Guide for prediction and evaluation of impacts by odour. Available in: https://www.sea.gob.cl/ (date of reference 05.15.21)