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Investigating the Capacity of an Activated Sludge Process to Reduce Volatile Organic Compounds and Odor Emissions

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The effects of hydrogen sulfide (H 2S) diffusion into activated sludge (AS) on odor and volatile organic compound (VOC) concentrations in offgas were studied over an 8-week period. Most VOCs detected in the offgas of both aeration tanks were aromatic hydrocarbons. The VOC concentrations generally decreased when H 2S was introduced to the AS compared with the control, indicating a negative effect of H 2S on VOC removal. Two volatile organic sulfur compounds present in the test AS offgas showed an increase followed by a decrease during H 2S peak loads. Six VOCs and odor concentration increased during the introduction of an H 2S peak; however no correlation was observed between H 2S and odor concentration. The increase in odor concentration resulted from the increase in the concentration of six aromatic VOCs, which had their removal slowed down during a 100-ppmv H 2S peak. Activated sludge diffusion provides effective H 2S removal with minimal affect on odor emissions.

Keywords: activated sludge diffusion; hydrogen sulfide; odor emission; odor treatment; volatile organic compounds

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2006

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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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