Over the recent years, advancements in technology have allowed a massive growth of efficiency and sustainability in odour control systems. With traditional methods typically involving chemical dosing systems to treat and manage odour control, recent environmental breakthroughs focused on sustainability have become more widely accepted and implemented throughout the industry.
Among the sectors that have experienced this recent shift in the application of technology are those industries that require odour control management of wastewater.
In private industries with on-site wastewater treatment systems, specific developments of technology in treating odour in wastewater bodies include the improvement of micronutrient additive compounds to enhance the action of beneficial bacteria during the decomposition process of the wastewater. By simply adding an improved combination of micronutrients derived from plants, the inhibition of sulphur-reducing ammonia-forming bacteria and stimulation of non-sulphur-reducing bacteria has enhanced the breakdown of organic waste by promoting an increased metabolic rate of the bacteria.
Although micronutrient dosing has its place in odour control management of wastewater, it is mainly seen in private industrial sites that have an on-site wastewater treatment system. For municipal sewer systems that comprise a network of pump stations and pipelines, the use of chemical dosing is more effective and is still the preferred treatment of today.
Abattoirs and tanneries have seen an increase of incorporating the use of better formulated micronutrient additives for wastewater treatment alongside additional improved odour control technologies such as advanced biofilters that remove up to 95% of odours and atmospheric misting systems involving the use of specially formulated active ingredients that are released into the air.
In the landfill industry, the increase of regulatory pressure from both authoritative positions and communal engagement has called for the need to improve the effectiveness of odour control to minimise the impact on surrounding communities.
Technology has improved tremendously in designing effective solutions for odour management in landfill sites by way of implementing a tri-system involving misting systems, vapour systems, and surface treatment.
Misting systems have existed in the odour control industry for decades and are purposed specifically for perimeter odour treatment by dissipating essential oils and organic plant compounds into the air. The advantage of misting systems is the ability to install the unit as a portable system thus making it convenient for perimeter coverage as needed.
Vapour systems are newer odour control systems that are also designed for perimeter odour treatment with the advantage of being more effective in treating severe odour issues due to the dissipation of active ingredients that destroy malodorous compounds in the air. Designed not to require water to function, vapour systems have a far greater contact time between the vapour particles and malodorous compounds thus increasing the effectiveness in eliminating difficult and pungent odours.
Surface treatment is versatile as it can be applied to all areas of a landfill site and involves the use of foam to cover the surface. This prevents the release of any odorous gas into the atmosphere, and the micronutrients within the foam enhance the biological breakdown of the organic compounds which reduces odour production at its source. Additionally, a contact deodoriser is added to the foam to treat any unwanted odours generated from the landfill.
In the food and dairy industry, the use of modern biofiltration technology utilising vessels rather than open bed designs is common along with a combination of other odour management systems such as biotrickling filters, modular hybrid filter systems, misting systems, vapour systems, and surface treatment systems.
Biotrickling filters are essentially inorganic filters that involve nutrient dosing and irrigation, whereas modular hybrid filter systems comprise of both carbon and organic filters. Due to the wide range of different applications available, the specific needs of each site should be assessed by an odour management specialist who will be able to make recommendations based on effectiveness.
For a more cost-effective solution based on setup and maintenance costs, organic biofilters are a viable alternative to biotrickling filters except for very large airflows or very high concentrations of odours and volatile organic compounds.
With the growing advancements and improvements in technology moulding the way the odour management industry is headed, there is only further anticipation for better development regarding sustainability and effectiveness for the future ahead.
Richard Tonkin is General Manager of OdourPro.