Tuesday evening May 6th, several residential homes in the Adonisstraat in Helmond were evacuated after residents reported a heavy fuel stench. A mobile laboratory of the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) investigated the nature and origin of the odour nuisance. RIVM applied Mobile eNoses of Comon Invent during the investigation. The Mobile eNoses register changes in the air composition that can lead to odour nuisance for the surrounding area. Mobile eNoses provide data that can be translated into detailed information about the rise and spread of odorous and non-odorous gas emissions. This contributes to swift and early detection of gases that may be harmful to the health and safety of the environment. At the time of the incident the mobile eNoses registered distinct peak values caused by the abnormal air composition that led to the odour nuisance. Several Mobile eNoses were positioned at various locations in the area where residents reported odour nuisance. With the use of the mobile eNoses the dispersion of the gas emission and impact area of the incident was mapped.
Research by the RIVM showed that presumably a volatile organic compound (VOC) emitted from crawl spaces underneath the homes and caused the gasoline/diesel-like stench. The exact nature of the substance and how it has ended up in the crawl spaces is still unknown. Further research by the RIVM is required to give more details.