Partnership Program to Measure Odours at the French Creek Pollution Control Centre

News Release - February 25, 2019

Partnership Program to Measure Odours at the French Creek Pollution Control Centre

The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) has partnered with the Vancouver Island University (VIU) Applied Environmental Research Laboratories (AERL) to implement a state of the art air quality monitoring program to fingerprint French Creek Pollution Control Centre's current odour emissions.

This partnership comes at an opportune time and builds upon the Regional Air Quality Mapping Pilot Project, which VIU performed in 2018 with the aid of a $5,000 grant from the RDN Carbon Tax Reserve.

The upcoming monitoring program will focus on measuring odours at the French Creek Pollution Control Centre and in the surrounding community. Monitoring starts in March and will run for a year with multi-day sampling campaigns in spring, summer, fall and winter. The results will inform RDN engineers of the most effective ways to incorporate odour control upgrades into the wastewater treatment plant. "This initiative and future upgrades will enhance the overall quality of life for neighbouring residents and visitors," said Chair Ian Thorpe. "We are pleased to continue to partner with VIU, finding ways to work together to better our region."

Through this partnership, an RDN's contribution of $20,000 will be matched by a $20,000 grant from VIU's Regional Initiatives Fund. VIU will also provide an in-kind contribution of faculty and staff time valued at $21,100, and RDN engineering and operations staff will contribute an estimated 80 hours to this project.

"This is an excellent example of research in the public interest" says Dr. Erik Krogh one of the principal investigators from VIU involved in the project. "We are very excited to have our student researchers involved in projects where we live and learn. This is a novel application of mobilized mass spectrometers to provide high precision field data in an attempt to relate odour profiles to molecular signals."

This innovative monitoring program represents the first use of VIU's new Mobile Mass Spectrometry Lab to:

  • Analyze odour-producing substances associated with wastewater treatment, green waste production, agriculture and marine estuaries;
  • Map their distribution at a neighborhood scale;
  • Assess the seasonal variability in odour sources and regional distributions; and
  • Recommend potential odour control measures.
The Mobile Mass Spectrometry Lab is unique in Canada and was developed at VIU by Krogh and Dr. Chris Gill (Co-Directors of the AERL) with the support of nearly a $1-million research investment from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the BC Knowledge Development Fund.

The French Creek Pollution Control Centre accepts and treats wastewater from 27,000 people and businesses in Qualicum Beach, Parksville, and regional service areas.


Larissa Richards and Dr. Nick Davey monitoring the data inside the new research vehicle, known fondly as the Mass Specmobile.
Photo Credit: Vancouver Island University

For more information on this partnership, please attend our Public Information Session:

Wednesday, March 27, 2019
4PM - 6PM
Oceanside Place
Multipurpose Room (Upstairs)
830 Island Highway West
~~ 30 ~~
Regional District of Nanaimo
Duncan Taylor, Manager, Engineering Services

Vancouver Island University
Dr. Erik Krogh, Co-Director, Applied Environmental Research Laboratories
250-753-3245 L2307

Notice Date