PRD Tech, Inc.

Use of biocatalysts to reduce hydrogen sulfide emissions from lagoons and landfills

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Courtesy of PRD Tech, Inc.

Emission of odors from ponds and lagoons occurs due to aerobic and anaerobic decomposition of organic solids to release hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, and other organic by-products.  Aerobic biodegradation occurs near the water-air interface, where diffusion of oxygen occurs, while anaerobic degradation prevails mainly near the bottom of the pond or lagoon, where there is low or no dissolved oxygen in the water.  The biodegradation reactions that occur to release hydrogen sulfide and ammonia can be written as follows:

Organic matter  +  SO4 2-  ---------->  S 2-  +   H2O  +  CO2
S 2-   +  2H+     -----------------------> H2S
4(CH3)3N  +  H2O  ------------------>  9CH4 + 3CO2  + 6H2O + 4NH3
(organic matter)

Both hydrogen sulfide and ammonia gases have strong odors with high detection thresholds.  Further, biodegradation reactions also can result in the formation of biosurfactants in addition to synthetic surfactants that may be present in the water, resulting in the formation of foam.  Foam is created by the isolation of surface active agents which attach to air bubbles forming a foam layer on the surface of the water. The gas bubbles are produced by aerobic degradation of sugar into carbon dioxide and water as well as from the generation of methane by anaerobic decomposition of organic matter. 

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