Treatment of unpleasant odors in municipal wastewater treatment plants

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The purpose of this paper to present a case study on how to address the odor problem from secondary sources within a municipal wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) by first identifying the locations of the problem and second by evaluating alternative treatment technologies. The WWTP of Chania is a typical 100,000 equivalent inhabitants-facility in a warm semi-arid environment which is located close to residential areas. The installation of a chemical scrubber to control major odor sources within the plant did not succeed in eliminating complaints by nearby residents, and additional measures were required. In this case study we identify all major secondary sources of odor within the plant and evaluate the effectiveness of the different technologies that were employed to address this problem (cover installation, gas and liquid phase oxidation, activated carbon/permanganate absorption, FeCl3 addition). In particular, we found that installation of covers and reduction of turbulence at two key locations within the WWTP was the best strategy to combat unpleasant odors. Furthermore, when the central chemical scrubber was near capacity the installation of an auxiliary system of activated carbon absorption coupled to permanganate oxidation was deemed to be a safe approach. However, despite the very high removal efficiency (>99.5%) of the unit, the addition of FeCl3 in the liquid phase was required in order to achieve complete deodorization (below the human odor threshold level).

Keywords: hydrogen sulfide, municipal wastewater treatment plant, odor control

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