LONDON, ONT. -- City hall may turn to cutting-edge technology to track down the source of the ‘south London stink,’ even as long-suffering residents express doubt.

A new provincially-led pilot project is installing 24/7 electronic monitoring stations around several suspected odour emitting sites.

The Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks has been in discussions with two waste processing companies in the area, StormFisher Environmental and Convertus (formerly Orgaworld) to create an odour monitoring area.

City staff have been approached about including the W12A landfill.

"We are basically the guinea pig for this program,” says Brockley resident Allan Tipping. “It’s never been tried anywhere else, and I don’t think London or the money being spent by StormFisher is properly spent by putting these up.”

Tipping says this is the 13th year that foul garbage-like odours have made it impossible for London residents living south of Highway 401 to enjoy their yards.

A new staff report to city council recommends spending $80,000 to $140,000 per year to include the municipality’s landfill in the three to five year monitoring program.

“The sensors will basically pick up odorous compounds and be able to identify a profile and create almost a fingerprint,” explains Jay Stanford, Director of Environment, Fleet, & Solid Waste.

Tipping doubts electronic devices that detect specific chemical compounds in the air, will adequately measure the intensity of foul odours, “All this is numbers, and how do you prove offensiveness with numbers from a machine?”

Stanford says accurate and timely data will direct ongoing process improvements at the landfill better than sporadic responses to complaints.

“If we know certain conditions are creating odour, we can adjust our operations,” explains Stanford.

But after a decade of studies, pilot projects, and promises, Tipping remains skeptical.

“We’ve asked them to actually step up and correct this problem. But none of them have the nerve to,” he says.

Council’s Civic Works Committee will discuss the procurement process for the pilot project at its July 14 meeting.