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Foul odors and resulting negative impacts from wastewater collection and treatment plants are a primary concern for many communities today. In the past few years, Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) has seen a rise in odor complaints from people living and working near OCSD facilities. Members of the community have expressed concerns regarding odors, health issues, environmental degradation, property devaluation, and their overall quality of life. (There are also other, non-OCSD-related odor sources in the same area as OCSD facilities, including natural tidal pools, wetlands, commercial, oil production, and industrial facilities and sources.)

In response, OCSD implemented a proactive planning effort to address its current and future odor impacts situation. The Master Plan is feeding information directly into OCSD's Capital Improvement and Operations and Management (O&M) Plans for implementation. The plan focuses on three key goals:

Optimize OCSD's capital investments in odor monitoring and control.

Examine how odors are addressed functionally inside the District.

Present to internal O&M staff, engineers, and the community at large our plan-developed, innovative odor assessment; and our monitoring, modeling, and control tools, which have evolved since OCSD's odor control equipment was installed in the early 1980s.

This paper describes state-of-art odor assessment and control tools, odor dispersion, and odor estimating models; local community odor threshold studies and results; odor control costing models; and benchmarking results from peer facilities needed to effectively staff, operate, and maintain a comprehensive odor assessment and control program. OCSD's goal is to be a good neighbor by controlling nuisance-level odors from the wastewater collection and treatment systems. This paper also describes OCSD's strategies and outreach approaches for cost-effectively addressing their odor control needs while ensuring that the solution will meet with public approval.

The lessons learned from this planning and analysis approach will be important to both large and small wastewater treatment and collection facilities as they face their own odor assessment and control concerns.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2002

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