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Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant (ABTP) is a large sewage treatment facility managed and operated by the City of Toronto. Several odor abatement measures have been taken over the last four decades to combat odor nuisance impacts in the community but these measures did not completely achieve the desired result. Odor complaints from neighboring residents continue to be a concern for the City of Toronto.

In April 2001 the City commissioned a detailed odor assessment study of the Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant (ABTP). The scope of work required multiple odor sampling from all plant sources followed by sensory evaluation of samples by eight-person odor panels. To identify seasonal variations, each round of odor sampling and analysis took place during one of the four natural seasons. The primary purpose of the project was to develop a clear understanding of the extent of the odor nuisance impact in the neighboring communities that are associated with ABTP operations. The project aimed to use this information to formulate and recommend effective solutions to mitigate the odor impact. Improving the quality of life in the neighboring communities around ABTP has been the driving force behind the project.

The paper describes techniques used and the procedures adopted during planning and conduct of the 18-month odor assessment program. Sampling techniques included dilution sampling and use of flux chambers and sampling hoods. Odor sampling from plant sources and sensory evaluation of all samples were repeated during each season. After each seasonal round of sampling and analysis an interim report predicting the worst-case impact in the community and the frequency of occurrence at specific receptors was prepared. During the first round of sampling a detailed chemical analysis of the collected foul air samples was also conducted. Realtime H2S measurements were made at every source during all seasons. The odor assessment program also included two separate community odor surveys in the affected neighborhoods which to some extent helped validate the modeled impact scenarios.

This paper will provide utility managers and operators, as well as public groups and designers, with insight on how to plan and conduct a detailed odor impact assessments program which is essential when developing solutions to community odor nuisance issues from wastewater treatment plants.

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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