Odor Control Application Information

That stuff stinks! 

The Problem 

Controlling odor is one of the most challenging and frustrating problems facing industrial facilities such as Waste Water Treatment plants, landfills, food processing and many types of production plants today.  Nothing animates people faster than putrid odors wafting through the air in their neighborhood.  No one wants the foul odor of sewage, garbage or industrial fumes drifting through their backyards or into their homes.

The emission of odors has become much more than a mere nuisance problem for most industrial facilities.  Heightened environmental awareness has elevated industrial odors from a mere nuisance to a perceived health hazard in the minds of the public.  Although the odor may be harmless, public pressure can mount to the point that the facility has no choice but to eliminate the odor or face stiff fines and penalties, or even shut down.

What causes odor?

Odors are simply airborne chemical compounds detected by the nose.  These can range from simple one or two-compound odors to very complex odors comprised of a variety of compounds.  However, four families of compounds cause most odors:

  • Sulfur compounds
    • Hydrogen Sulfide (the odor of rotten eggs)
    • Mercaptans (the odor of garlic or rotten cabbage)
  • Nitrogen compounds
    • Amines (fishy, nauseating, disgusting odors)
    • Ammonia (sharp and pungent odors)
  • Organic acids (sharp, putrid, rank and rancid odors)
  • Phenols (musty, moldy, stale odors)

Where do these odors come from? 

Many disagreeable odors occur naturally in decaying organic matter or as by-products of biological or chemical reactions.  These reactions occur on a much larger scale in many industrial or waste treatment processes.  These larger scale processes cause proportionally larger emissions of malodorous compounds.  For example, in waste treatment systems, hydrogen sulfide (odor of rotten eggs) is generated by anaerobic bacteria, which reduce sulfate in the water or sludge to create sulfides. These sulfides combine with hydrogen and can “gas off” as hydrogen sulfide or organic sulfides called mercaptans.

Other malodorous compounds form because of biological action in waste streams, sludge holding tanks, lagoons, biofilters, clarifiers and other treatment systems.  In short, chemicals react with chemicals and depending on conditions (temperature, concentration of reactants, time, pH, the presence of catalysts, etc.), those reactions can produce malodors.  The best solution is careful control of a process or system However, just as often the odor may be a result of the process.  In such instances, only a proactive odor control program will bring relief.

So, what is the solution?

There are many solutions ranging from process changes to treatment systems to mechanical methods of controlling odor. However even when these alternatives are attempted, odor can still be an issue. Chemical means of odor control is a simple and economically feasible solution, but care must be given in the choice of chemicals used. Quite often some “so-called” chemical solutions don’t alleviate the odor but instead ADD to the problem AND add cost but bring no relief to the odorous condition. 

When looking at chemical alternatives, the proven effectiveness of TRUE odor counteractants, neutralizers is the best way to go.

Contact us today and let Solutio Tek design a solution to your application.

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