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Odors and the impacts of odors to surrounding communities are playing a major role in recent requirements for many wastewater collection and treatment systems owners to control odors, modify existing operations to reduce odors, or seek innovative ways to reduce offsite odors. Many of these wastewater collection or treatment system owners have not involved their local communities in the planning and selection processes necessary to determine the need for odor control and reduction. Typically, the assumption is that these wastewater collection or treatment system owners understand their systems and have identified the odor sources already; thus, involving the public would only cause additional problems or concerns related to quality of life issues and the public's desire to have an odor-free environment. However, many wastewater collection or treatment system owners have observed that implementing a public outreach effort has many beneficial returns and can help rebuild the public's trust that owners will take positive steps that will make a direct difference in the public's daily life.

This paper ties together several levels of, or approaches to, public outreach that have been successfully implemented for owners of wastewater collection and treatment systems to choose what is appropriate for their current odor issues. Case studies show low-key and high-profile public outreach approaches and techniques that resulted in significant benefits both for the public and owner. Many insights, lessons learned, and community-based acceptable odor threshold standards are presented to help guide the wastewater collection or treatment system owner on selection of the best public outreach program and acceptable communitybased odor control thresholds for each unique situation and surrounding community.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2006

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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 These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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