Most of the odors detected in and around wastewater treatment plants are signals that nature’s treatment process is working; organic matter is decomposing and pollutants are being removed from the wastewater.
As the table Odorous Compounds In Wastewater shows, three major odorous compounds naturally occurring in the treatment process, hydrogen sulfide, amines and mercaptans, are detectable by the human nose at extremely low concentrations.
Odorous Compounds In Wastewater
Recognition Threshold parts per million
From Table 2.1, Odor Control in Wastewater Treatment Plants, 1995, WEF & American Society of Civil Engineers
Were it not for odor control measures, all wastewater treatment processes are capable of emitting odors.
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Here are some ways to reduce your exposure to lead:1. When water has been standing in your pipes, run the cold water tap until the water gets noticeably colder. The lower temperature indicates you have cleared the water that has been standing in the pipes.2. Use only water from the cold water tap for drinking, cooking, and for making baby formula. Hot tap water dissolves lead faster and is likely to contain higher levels of lead if present.3. When repairing or replacing plumbing, insist on lead-free solder and lead-free fixtures.
Odors are a natural part of the substances handled and treated at any wastewater treatment plant. Odors are typically contained to the wastewater treatment plant site; but occasionally odors drift from the plant site depending on weather conditions and wind direction.
Routine treatment operations are designed to reduce the amount of odors present; however, certain weather conditions and equipment maintenance may lessen the effectiveness of these routine odor control operations.
ACWWA currently operates the Lone Tree Creek Water Reuse Facility (LTCWRF) using best management practices that ensure the facility processes are operating in an effective manner. If the processes are operating correctly, then odors are kept to a minimum. The best management practices followed by ACWWA are listed below:
First of all, it is important to understand that odors are generated from every phase of wastewater management, including collection, treatment, and disposal, and that odors are impossible to prevent. Please wait at least one hour before you consider calling our office. Most odors, if detected, are temporary and will dissipate as quickly as they occur. If the odor persists for over an hour and occurs in the same location you originally noticed it, you may call ACWWA, 303-790-4830, to inform the staff you detect an odor. Staff will ask you for the following information:
- Your name, address, and phone number;
- Information about the odor; such as, what time you noticed it, is it still noticeable, a description of the odor (refer to the Odorous Compounds In Wastewater table) and how strong is the odor.
Staff will record all of the complainant’s information described above; as well as, temperature, humidity, weather conditions, wind velocity, and wind direction.
All of the information combined helps staff determine if the odor is being emitted from the LTCWRF or from elsewhere, and most importantly if there is anything beyond best management practices that can be done to correct the issue.