Odors from biosolids & other organic residuals
Organic residuals naturally decompose, and sometimes, when they do, they create malodors. It is a fact of life. It is, in fact, life that causes this - bacteria and other microorganisms that, as they take in (eat) nutrients and energy from carbon-rich materials, create gases that can smell bad: sulfur compounds that smell like rotten eggs, amines that smell like rotting fish, and more.
Malodors are one of the most challenging aspects of managing organic residuals, especially the large volumes of residuals that are produced at waste water treatment facilities, food production and food service businesses, and farms.
The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) and others have applied odor science to biosolids management, informing wastewater and biosolids professionals on how to reduce, treat, and manage odors. Some regulatory agencies have instituted nuisance or odor regulations to try to reduce conflicts. Yet, while much more is now known about odor management, it is not the most precise science.
Managers of organic residuals processing facilities work hard to avoid generating nuisance odors, but sometimes things go wrong, and malodors can't be contained. NEBRA and other organizations continually encourage best management practices, to help reduce nuisance odor events.
- Odor Control in Biosolids Management - Fact Sheet (U. S. EPA, 2000)
- Research Summary: Impacts of In-Plant Parameters on Biosolids Odor Quality (WERF, 2003)
- Research Summary: Health Effects of Biosolids Odors: A Literature Review and Analysis (WERF, 2005)
- WERF's Biosolids Odor Reduction Roadmap - Additional research reports, searchable literature database, & decision tool
- Science of Odor as a Public Health Issue (Schiffman, 2005)
- Biosolids Odorant Emissions as a Cause of Somatic Disease (Toffey, 2007)
- Effect of Amendment Addition on Biosolids Odors... (Johnston et al., 2009)