Case study of odor and indoor air quality assessment in the dewatering building at the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant

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Indoor air quality (IAQ) and odors were determined using sampling/monitoring, measurement, and modeling methods in a large dewatering building at a very large water reclamation plant. The ultimate goal was to determine control strategies to reduce the sensory impacts on the workforce and achieve odor reduction within the building. Study approaches included: (1) investigation of air mixing by using CO2 as an indicator, (2) measurement of airflow capacity of ventilation fans, (3) measurement of odors and odorants, (4) development of statistical and IAQ models, and (5) recommendation of control strategies. The results showed that air quality in the building complies with occupational safety and health guidelines; however, nuisance odors that can increase stress and productivity loss still persist. Excess roof fan capacity induced odor dispersion to the upper levels. Lack of a local air exhaust system of sufficient capacity and optimum design was found to be the contributor to occasional less than adequate indoor air quality and odors. Overall, air ventilation rate in the building has less effect on persistence of odors in the building. Odor/odorant emission rates from centrifuge drops were approximately 100 times higher than those from the open conveyors. Based on measurements and modeling, the key control strategies recommended include increasing local air exhaust system capacity and relocation of exhaust hoods closer to the centrifuge drops.

Keywords: biosolids dewatering, indoor air quality, odors, ventilation, wastewater

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