City Considers Study To Pinpoint Source Of Odor Plaguing Murray Hill

Feb 23, 2021

The city of Jacksonville is considering hiring an Australian-based company to conduct a study that would help pinpoint the source of the foul odors that have been plaguing Murray Hill and neighboring communities.

The city has been investigating the chemical smell in Murray Hill for months now, as hundreds of residents continue to file odor complaints, describing conditions as bad as visible plumes that make it difficult to breath and sting the skin.

The city has determined five possible odor sources, but the main suspect at this time is International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF).

During Monday’s meeting of the Environmental Protection Board’s Air, Odor and Noise Committee, representatives from the company Envirosuite, an international tech company based out of Australia, described a study they say will help the city pinpoint the source of its odor problem.

The city currently uses traditional methods for investigating odors. That involves sending an inspector out to assess an odor once a complaint is filed.

Envirosuite is proposing what they refer to as an environmental intelligence odor study, a 12-month process that utilises strategically positioned ambient sensors.

“What we are proposing here is actually a hands off approach, from the point of view of the city, but more of a collaborative approach where we're going to bring sensors on site, we're going to install the platform, we're going to generate ongoing reports that will give you an understanding of what's happening,” Operations Manager Andres Quijano explained to the committee.

Essentially, Quijano said, this approach would allow the city to better understand the odors and where they’re coming from without needing to send people out on site inspections or hire expensive consultants.

“This is going to allow the city to be able to determine the sources of odor, backed by scientific and meteorological data, with confidence,” said Envirosuite Environmental Intelligence Advisor Mateo Quintanilla.

The estimated cost of that 12-month study is between $70,000 to $80,000, according to Envirosuite.

Monday’s meeting was educational in nature and the city has not yet committed to initiating the study. Melissa Long, Chief of Jacksonville’s Environmental Quality Division (EQD), said the city will move forward with the odor investigation whether or not it decides to commission the Envirosuite study.

“But it could be, potentially, another resource for the Board, for EQD and for the citizens to learn more about how odors move within our city,” she said.

Residents with questions about the study are being encouraged to send them to epb@coj.net.

 

Brendan Rivers can be reached at brivers@wjct.org, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.