Tech Environmental e-Newsletter
July 2009


Convenient, Compact, and

Potentially Odorous

Many small businesses barely exceed the threshold criteria that require some type of on-site treatment system in place of a traditional septic system. These thresholds are generally based upon population and per capita wastewater generation. Often a business, development or facility will have historically been within the threshold, but may find itself over the criteria after expansion.

On-site wastewater treatment systems are often marketed and sold as complete “packages." These technlogies include suspended-growth systems like sequencing batch reactors, membrane bioreactors and conventional activated sludge, as well as fixed-film systems like rotating biological contractors and trickling filter package systems. Some systems combine multiple technologies in a single package.

The advantage offered by these systems is their compact design, allowing for more treatment in a smaller space. Many systems also offer significant ease of use and require minimal manpower to operate. However, the installation of one of these systems means that a small business now owns and operates a wastewater treatment plant, whether it is ready or not.

Package systems cycle between aerobic, anoxic, and/or anaerobic phases to achieve solids reduction, and this cycling creates odor potential. It is important to consider the need for odor control when specifying package systems for bidders; implementing odor control at the design stage is the ideal approach. Businesses often hire an operations firm to handle the WWTP, but this relationship is only helpful if the selected operations firm has the necessary systems in place to control or minimize odors.

Odor control solutions, like this packaged unit, ensure

that wastewater odor does not pose a nuisance.

Odor is a human reaction and odor nuisance concerns can become complex and difficult to deal with, particularly for facilities that are not primarily dedicated to wastewater treatment. If odor impacts have already become a concern, it is important to consider not only the engineering solution, but also the public impact of these odor events.Successful solutions to package WWTP odor events will address all aspects of the nuisance concern.

Businesses, developments and facilities ought to consider the importance of odor control when developing specifications and selecting firms to set up or run a package WWTP. Otherwise, they may hear from their tenants and neighbors about an odor concern that is now their responsibility.

Under the direction of Andrew Burns of

The Burns Companies, Tech and Methuen Construction designed and installed this odor control system to solve

the odor concerns of a luxury condominum complex.

To learn more about odor control solutions for package and private WWTPs, contact Michael Lannan at



303 Wyman Street, Suite 295

Waltham, Massachusetts 02451

ph. 781-890-2220

fax 781-890-9451



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The Vice President of Tech Environmental, Michael T. Lannan, is a chemical engineer who specializes in air quality, odor control, noise and dust mitigation. Mr. Lannan has piloted new air quality and odor control technologies, updated U.S. odor sampling standards, improved vendors’ “standard” products, provided nuisance litigation support, and executed over one hundred air pollution and odor control studies, designs, permit acquisitions, installations, start-ups, and system optimization studies.

To learn more about Mike, check out his profile on LinkedIn! Mike can be reached by phone at (781) 890-2220 x33, or by email at





One New England apartment complex experienced long-term odor concerns from an onsite package WWTP. The odor concerns impacted tenant relations and operations; last July 4th, the swimming pool had to be shut down because of WWTP odors. Tech Environmental devised both temporary and permanent odor control solutions for this facility. This year, the pool was open on Independence Day, because the wastewater odor issues have been resolved. 

Another project concerned an Amphidrome system located along a golf course fairway.  In this case, wastewater odors were clearly affecting golfers’ approach shots to the green! Tech Environmental’s challenge was not simply to solve the odor concern, but also to demonstrate to local residents that the solution was sufficient. The new odor control system is now up and running, and its effectiveness has been demonstrated to the community. Perhaps most importantly, golfers can no longer blame WWTP odors for poor approach shots.

The New England Patriots have a private wastewater plant that has long been effective at handling the irregular and sometimes sizeable flows from Foxboro Stadium. This state-of-the-art membrane plant system (similar to the Titan system) reuses "gray water" to conserve resources. However, the development of Patriot Place, a sizeable mixed-use project located adjacent to the stadium, required a re-evaluation of the odor control elements of the wastewater plant. The development plans call for a luxury hotel with balconies and swimming pools, so proper odor control was vital. Tech Environmental performed an extensive evaluation of the plant and developed odor control recommendations to address the concern.

TECH ENVIRONMENTAL, INC. specializes in finding real solutions to air quality, odor control, noise and vibration, fugitive dust, and health & safety challenges. Our focused knowledge in air-quality-related fields is enhanced by a comprehensive understanding of environmental regulations and technologies. Visit our website at or contact us by phone at (781) 890-2220.