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Measurement of Biosolids Compost Odor Emissions from a Windrow, Static Pile, and Biofilter

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A pilot study was conducted to compare odor emissions from a windrow process and an aerated static pile and to determine the odor reduction efficiency of a pilot two-phase biofilter for odor control of biosolids composting. Chemical compounds identified as responsible for odors from biosolids composting include ammonia, dimethyl disulfide, carbon disulfide, formic acid, acetic acid, and sulfur dioxide (or carbonyl sulfide). Aeration was found to reduce the concentration of ammonia, formic acid, and acetic acid by 72, 57, and 11%, respectively, compared with a nearby windrow, while dimethyl sulfide, carbon disulfide, and sulfur dioxide (or carbonyl sulfide) concentrations were below detection limits. Using dilution-to-threshold olfactometry, aeration followed by biofiltration was found to reduce the odor from biosolids composting by 98%. Biofiltration also altered the character of odor emissions from biosolids composting, producing a less offensive odor with an earthy character. Biofiltration was found to reduce the concentration of ammonia, dimethyl disulfide, carbon disulfide, formic acid, acetic acid, and sulfur dioxide (or carbonyl sulfide) by 99, 90, 32, 100, 34, and 100%, respectively. The concentrations of those odorants were estimated to be 3700, 110000,26,37,5, and 1.2 times reported human detection limits before the two-phase biofilter, respectively, and 42,9600, 18,0,3, and 0 times human detection limits after the biofilter, respectively.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2004

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  • 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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