Application of Field Olfactometry to Monitor the Odour Impact of a Municipal Sewage System

Andrzej Kulig, Mirosław Szyłak-Szydłowski, Marta Wiśniewska

Odorant emissions are associated with, among other things, wastewater transport in sewer networks; they contribute to air pollution and result in complaints from residents living close to emission sources. The critical location in terms of the formation of unpleasant odour compounds is the pressure line that connects the pumping station and the expansion well; this is where they are released into the atmosphere. This paper presents comprehensive results of olfactometric and chromatographic tests in the Polish city of Białystok using portable devices that allow for multiple determinations and instant results. The study attempts to investigate the relationship between odour and odorant concentrations and check the suitability of field olfactometry as a tool for the ongoing monitoring of the emission of noxious odours and for verifying complaints submitted by residents. Statistical analysis shows a very high correlation coefficient between cod and the concentrations of individual odorants, ranging from 0.82 to 0.91. This olfactometric research, mainly conducted in situ, can be an appropriate method for the ad hoc monitoring of processes in sewage networks. This method allows the detection of unwanted emissions of odours at individual points in the network in concentrations that are not detected by standard sensors but that nevertheless cause odour nuisances, complaints, and social conflict. The research results provide evidence in favour of the energetic usage of wastewater, which is in line with circular economy conception, since odour nuisance is one of its indicators.

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