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Community involvement is a very important public relations issue to the development of an effective odor control system at wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). The public is becoming less and less tolerant to objectionable and offensive odors. The dramatic increase in the development of residential communities, even adjacent to the plant boundary lines especially since the 1990s can be attributed to the strong U.S. economy. This growth has only meant much increased wastewater loads for the treatment plants, and increased distances and more wastewater pump stations along the sewer pipe network. The WWTP improvements to handle greater loads have invariably suffered one setback and that is in the release of odorous emissions to the environment. As a result, the WWTPs have been frequently embroiled with negative publicity from the neighboring communities regarding the odors, mainly as a quality of life issue. The Sanitation District's sewer plant in Northern Kentucky has seen no exception to this public relations concern. The tremendous growth in this region during the past decade has made it imperative in the need for the construction of a new WWTP to accommodate the increase in demand. Therefore, addressing the sensitivity of the community odor issues with the existing treatment plant in a positive manner was an extremely important “precedent setting” consideration for siting the location of a proposed second WWTP in the area. In fact, odor control has been the main focus for the design of this new plant.

A baseline community odor survey was developed and implemented successfully, in order to design an odor control system for the existing treatment plant of Sanitation District. A simple odor survey questionnaire was designed and sent to the affected population within ¾ to a mile radius of the treatment plant. The community participation to the survey was very encouraging and yielded useful information regarding odor transport from the plant sources to the receptor locations, primarily the surrounding hilltop residents. This data was used to collect environmental air samples from the communities and for designing a full-scale biotrickling filter system for controlling odors from the “Zimpro” process. Besides, community involvement had a positive measure for the Sanitation District in addressing the odor control issues at the existing facility, as well as for the design and construction of the proposed new WWTP in Northern Kentucky.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2000

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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