Odor Control: Wastewater, Solid Waste (MSW), Sludge Processing, MRF

odor sewage wastewater treatment

For Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) facilities such as landfill, waste-to-energy, composting, Materials Recovery Facilities (MRF) recycling, and Non-MRF recycling along with wastewater processing and lagoons, using a mist system to contain odors can mean the difference in being a good neighbor.

Odor Control at community or municipal waste facilities can focus on managing one or several types of waste: water, solid, recycled or sludge. Even under the best of conditions where the transfer or treatment center is situated away from central commercial, residential or more congested urban areas, facility managers must maintain proper procedures to quickly deal with waste, for trucks to move in and out and essentially keep it (the waste) moving.

“To keep odor down on what can’t be loaded or stored, Gearing has installed an overnight misting system. ‘We’ve found a neutralizing agent really helps keep the odor down. We dispense every 30 minutes at night and approximately once every hour during the day. We haven’t had any odor problems since we’ve been doing this.(1)

Nuisance Odor: Quality of Life Issue

So as not to bother neighbors, odor must be contained. This can be difficult for facilities where waste is not sorted quickly enough. Keeping the processing quick and consistent along with an ongoing odor alleviation plan are key to maintaining quality of life for surrounding areas. Whether it’s solid, water or green waste, odor quickly becomes a problem when waste heats up or wind changes direction and odor molecules waft to surrounding areas. Compliance with nuisance odor abatement can mean the difference with neighbor relations.

Dust Control Misting Systems

Summer Heat Can Cause Problems

Odor can quickly become a problem for wastewater plants, lagoons, reclamation and sewage sludge drying beds or any facility where the waste sits long enough and essentially cooks–becoming even more of a concern in hot Summer months. Problems quickly escalate as odor molecules drift unobstructed to surrounding areas. Dry or drought conditions, heat spikes and higher temperature trends in North America make for ripe conditions at waste treatment facilities.

Consistent and Ongoing Action Plan

Keeping complaints to a minimum is key but there is not necessarily an industry agreed-upon best practice for odor control that keeps neighbors happy. One option for enclosed waste transfer, MRF or any solid waste facility is to create a mist barrier at the trucks’ entry and exit points, essentially tackling odor molecules and keeping them inside the building. One other option that facilities managers may want to consider is applying mist to exhaust points of the building when it makes sense. For all facilities but especially those dealing with non-enclosed areas such as sites used for wastewater, lagoons or landfill, managers may want to consider a perimeter of mist on the property or grounds, encircling the facility. Operations managers may find that utilizing an ongoing mitigation plan is the best course of action and provides an standardized, consistent record of compliance that can benefit facilities. 

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References and articles used for this post

(1) Controlling Odor at Transfer Stations and MRFs: There’s More Than One Way to Reduce Complaints