vacation season or odor season?
weekend starts the unofficial summer vacation season; unfortunately
for some, it also signals the peak odor season. Hazy and hot
conditions outside increase odor potential from all sources. Increased
odor potential coupled with open windows and outdoor activities can lead
to odor nuisance conditions. Tech Environmental is often busy during
the warmer months helping facilities limit their potential for odor
Is a single odor event a nuisance?
necessarily. Odor is everywhere, and every process (or homeowner for
that matter) emits at least a very mild odor. We often refer to these seasonal
odors fondly as the smells of summer: fragrant flowers, fresh cut
grass, a neighbor's barbeque, a swimming pool, or suntan lotion. We
can be exposed to these pleasant smells at high and low
concentrations, for seconds or minutes, once or multiple times
without any adverse reactions. In these cases a single odor event or
even multiple odor events are generally not nuisances.
Is a single malodorous event a nuisance?
not necessarily. For a "bad" odor to be considered a
nuisance it must alter one's daily activities. Simply smelling an
odor is not a nuisance; therefore, in most cases single, mild,
short-lived odor events are not considered nuisances. However, if
the same event is not short-lived, even a mild odor could be considered a nuisance.
can I minimize my potential for odor nuisance?
There are three primary factors: odor strength, event
frequency, and duration of event. If any of these factors are
excessive, a nuisance condition is possible.
A combination of education, source assessment, odor control,
and public involvement are key to minimizing nuisances. Educating
staff on different odor characteristics and possible sources can
help with response time, and therefore minimize duration.
treating, or dispersing odors may be necessary steps to improve
off-site conditions: however, simple process modifications, with
odor in mind, can be all that is necessary to reduce odor
strength. Collecting source samples and modeling potential
impacts into the surrounding neighborhood via dispersion
modeling can help establish a baseline condition. In many cases
dispersion improvements can reduce the frequency of odor events.
Is there a defined threshold for odor
subjective, and therefore the actual odor nuisance threshold is
subjective. If you involve the public in any odor response process,
you can objectively define the nuisance threshold together, add
science to track the potential condition, train those involved to
respond to potential exceedances, and gain neighborhood trust. Too
often a string of odor events can ruin any previous trust, and a
detailed program is necessary to assess the situation and establish or
regain that trust.
can Tech Environmental help?
Environmental has the experience and strategies to help our clients
reach out to concerned parties in order to find the common ground
necessary to achieve trust and assurance that odor impacts will be
limited. While we will never promise to eliminate odor, we do
promise to find the common ground necessary for public and private
acceptance for all. Please give us a call if you have any odor
concerns or questions about odor this summer, and most of all, enjoy
Michael T. Lannan,
wastewater treatment plant odor control improvements
part of a new upgrade to the Concord wastewater treatment
facility, Tech Environmental (TE) is in the process of assessing the
odor situation, and recommending the proper level of odor control
necessary, to alleviate potential nuisance conditions. TE has
collected both total odor samples and odorant specific samples to
assess the current baseline and future upgraded conditions. Sources are being bundled
by location, character and potential variability to select the
optimal odor control package. The final odor recommendations will be
incorporated into the plant upgrade design.
As part of the program, TE has developed a neighborhood odor
survey and has completed a historical odor complaint analysis. This
information helps determine the proper level of control necessary to
minimize nuisance impacts. TE will present this complaint and survey
information, coupled with the odor dispersion modeling results and
the odor control recommendations, at public works meetings or at the
annual Town Meeting. This will demonstrate that the optimal level of
control is sufficient and that additional control is not warranted.
Michael T. Lannan is
a chemical engineer who has provided odor solutions for facilities
all over the United States and the world. He has piloted new odor
control technologies, updated United States odor sampling standards,
improved vendors' "standard" products, provided odor
nuisance litigation support, and executed over one hundred odor
control studies, designs, permit acquisitions, installations,
start-ups, and system optimization studies.
As a chemical engineer, Mr. Lannan has an excellent
understanding of the specific individual compounds in an odorous
mixture and how each reacts, can be removed, and can have an odor
impact on neighbors. Mr. Lannan has examined, designed, or replaced
every commonly accepted odor control technology on the market today.
He is a registered professional engineer in Massachusetts, New
Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, and New York.
are conveniently located on Trapelo Road at Reservoir Place on Route
128 at Exit 28 in Waltham, Massachusetts
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