Law and Odor

Dr Tim Sturtz

Director Environmental Science Associates

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Odor is a human sensation that is frequently experienced and that nearly all humans understand. Most people realize that an odor is a human perception arising from small quantities of certain chemicals in the air the we breathe. When these chemicals are inhaled, they trigger nerve endings in the nose and mouth that communicate with our brain to interpret them as an odor. However, there is a certain amount of a chemical that must exist in the air we breathe prior to it being identified as an odor. The quantity of a chemical necessary to result in detection of an odor varies across the population (individual sensitivity) and also varies depending on the chemical. The science of odor has been developed around these general concepts. In this talk, I will discuss the basics of odor science, how odors can impact communities, and how we assess the potential for such impacts during project planning or litigation.

Headshot of Dr Tim Sturtz

Tim is an environmental engineer at Environmental Science Associates (ESA) with over 16 years of experience applying air quality principals to understand the interplay between atmospheric emission sources, ambient air concentrations, and air-related regulations and policies. He provides project management and technical direction on air quality issues for numerous industrial facilities, port authorities, maritime industries, government agencies, and research institutions. His expertise includes dispersion modeling, litigation support, odor assessments, environmental impact assessments, port and railyard emission inventories, general conformity, ambient air quality trend analysis, and air quality research. Tim received his PhD and Masters degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering from the University of Washington in 2014 and 2008 respectively. In 2006, Tim received his Bachelors Degree from Michigan Technological University, with a minor in mathematical sciences.

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