Foul odors are commonplace at many wastewater treat- ment plants. The odors originate as the organics in the wastewater
break down, releasing odors that smell
like rotten eggs, ammonia, or garlic.
These odors can be detected even at
extremely low concentrations, but that’s
not to say they can’t be controlled.
Treatment plants regularly combat
the repercussions of odors lingering
in and around the facility. Employees’
overall job satisfaction may suffer from
being exposed to nuisance odors, and
neighbors, fed up from having to live
close to such an unpleasant environment, complain. It is difficult to get
the public to accept that the treatment
plant has limited resources and competing demands for budget allocations.
Their complaints may escalate, gaining
traction with the media, city officials,
and other people in the community. Ultimately, the plant’s reputation can be
The community wants the odors
gone. The plant wants the complaints
to stop. Something must be done —
There are many different approaches to controlling odor. Some options,
such as adding chemicals to the water
or using deodorizing misting systems,
reportedly work well — until they don’t.
Odors may be controlled most of the
time, but a sudden change in wastewater composition or weather can cause
odors to intensify. As luck would have it,
this often happens at inopportune times,
like when the plant’s most vocal critic is
outside on his patio. This leads to people
thinking that the plant has done nothing
to combat the problem, frustrating everyone involved. When plant management is taking action to solve the issue, a
flood of odor complaints is discouraging.
HOW TO CONTROL NUISANCE ODORS
AT WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANTS
Covering tanks, basins, and/or lagoons with high-quality covers is often the best solution for reliable odor
Tank and Lagoon Covers
Odor Control BY VICTOR CORMIER