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Effectiveness of Field Olfactometry and Neighbor Control to Reduce Odor Annoyance from Biosolids and Municipal Solid Waste Composting

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An odor monitoring study was carried out with fifteen voluntary residents living in the vicinity of an source-separated municipal solid waste (MSW) composting plant (104 T/y) and an aerated channel biosolids composting facility (104 T/y). In the period June 2005-October 2007 residents recorded odor annoyance of up to fourteen different odors three times a day (on a 1 to 5 scale). All residents were nose-calibrated three times with the Odor Sensitivity Test (St. Croix Sensory, Inc.). Additionally, five residents were trained to use a field olfactometer (Nasal Ranger™) to measure ambient odor dilutions to threshold (D/T) at home. They participated in several field intercomparisons at the two odor sources obtaining excellent coefficients of variation (< 40%) against a certified odor inspector.

Unannounced field D/T inspections and resident measurements with the Nasal Ranger™ showed very good agreement in both ambient odor strength and time of day. For biosolids odor the highest value recorded at the site was 30 D/T (475 m from the source) while for source-separated MSW odor was 7 D/T (700 m from the source). Good correlations were found between the monthly-averaged Odor Annoyance Index (OAI) and the monthly-averaged global D/T measured around each odor source by a certified odor inspector. Random field D/T inspections at the site agreed also quite well with the daily OAI for each odor source. By the end of 2006 new management practices were implemented in both facilities and major structural changes were undertaken in 2007. The effectiveness of field olfactometry and neighbour control in providing meaningful and objective indicators of odor annoyance reduction following those corrective actions has kept neighbours patient and supportive of the communication program established in June 2005. Odor annoyance in the neighbourhood is expected to reach acceptable levels in the first semester of 2008.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2008

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