Performance of sanitary sewer collection system odour control devices operating in diverse conditions

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Controlling odours from sanitary sewer systems is challenging as a result of the expansive nature of these systems. Addition of oxidizing chemicals is often practiced as a mitigation strategy. One alternative is to remove odorous compounds in the gases vented from manholes using adsorptive media. In this study, odour control devices located at manholes were observed to determine the ability of these systems to reduce hydrogen sulphide from vented gases. The odour control devices incorporated pressure regulation to control gas flow out of manhole covers and adsorptive media to remove hydrogen sulphide in the vented gases prior to release. Pressure regulation was accomplished using a variable volume bladder and two pressure relief valves that permitted gas flow when pressures exceeded 1.3 to 2.5 cm water column. The reduction in gas flow vented from manholes was intended to extend the service life of the adsorptive media, as compared with odour control devices that do not incorporate pressure modulation. Devices were deployed at four locations and three adsorptive media were tested. Although measured collection system hydrogen sulphide concentrations varied from zero to over 1,000 ppm, the removal rates observed using odour control devices were typically above 90%. The lower removal rates observed at one of the sites (50.5 ± 36.1%) appeared related to high gas flow rates being emitted at this location. Activated carbon was used in most of the tests, although use of iron media resulted in the highest removal observed: 97.8 ± 3.6%. The expected service life of the adsorptive media contained within the odour control devices is a function of site-specific hydrogen sulphide concentrations and gas flow rates. The units used in this study were in service for more than 8 to 12 months prior to requiring media replacement.

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