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Quantification of wastewater odors by the affected public

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Odors associated with wastewater collection and treatment are a common problem. Wastewater odors are difficult to quantify, and current methods of quantification are too cumbersome to permit long-term evaluation of odor problems. In this project, residents in affected neighborhoods near a treatment plant in Winston-Salem, North Carolina quantified odors by completing numerical odor rating forms three times a day for six months. The resulting database was used to evaluate the correlation of odors to a variety of factors. Residents from the same neighborhood had a high level of agreement in quantifying odors, and most participants had a reasonable ability to make distinctions among different degrees of odor. Odors correlated well with wastewater characteristics (for example, influent COD) and wind direction, implicating the treatment plant as the major source of odors in affected neighborhoods. Use of the numerical odor rating form was an effective and inexpensive means of quantifying wastewater odors, and in conjunction with other information gave a better picture of specific major sources of odor at the treatment plant.

Keywords: correlation; odors; public reaction; sources; wastewater

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1992-07-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research� (WER�) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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