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More and more wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are seeing a rise in odor complaints from their surrounding communities. This is the result of new community growth near the plants, vocal communities tired of odors, violations and impacts from regulatory agencies responding to the community complaints and, the community expressing concerns about odors related to property devaluation and health impacts. At the same time, many of these WWTPs are seeing cost reduction demands driven by this same community to keep rates low.

New odor assessment tools, such as dispersion modeling, portable odor measurement panel equipment, and odor sensors are now available that are ideal for public outreach and community meetings. These tools can foster better communication and understanding between both WWTPs and the community regarding conducting odor assessments and the impacts of new odor control treatment to reduce existing odor levels experienced by the surrounding community. Typically, the community wants noticeable odor reduction now; however, with these tools the community can “wait” out the capital improvement programs as long as they can see an end to their odor impacts. This paper presents many odor control threshold levels that have been accepted by global communities that can be used for planning and control purposes in selecting a proper threshold for the WWTP's individual funding abilities or to meet a site-specific community demand.

Many innovative odor control approaches that have been used to meet a set communitybased odor control threshold will be presented in this paper. The use of assessment tools combined with the community odor control thresholds will determine the type of odor control technology that can be used at the WWTP. An innovative approach can be used to balance O&M needs, funding, capital expenditures, and control needs to develop a comprehensive program that is a “win” for both the community and WWTP.

A phased approach to odor control has been successful and backed by the community that addresses odor reduction needs. This phased approach includes immediate activities that can be implemented now (O&M and housecleaning activities), short-term (add-on or liquid phase odor control equipment), and long-term (odor control) to meet odor reduction goals. Examples for each phase will be provided as well as how these approaches are tied to the right assessment tool that shows a noticeable odor reduction.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2004

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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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