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The odour management space needs innovation: here’s why

Investigating potential emissions sources while trying to limit odour impact can be stressful —especially if you are limited to conventional methods and lack situational awareness.

Innovations in the industrial odour management space such as the application of Environmental Intelligence (EI) have made it easier to plan for odour emissions at waste management operations and wastewater treatment plants. New methods are now empowering operators with actionable insights to reduce odour impact, better manage odour complaints and enhance overall efficiency at their sites.

Complicated compromise between operations and odour impact
Odour is something that we can’t see and has always been difficult to measure. Traditional methods to manage emissions can be expensive. This is due to cost of maintaining regulatory compliance, operational overheads from manual processing, and loss of operational efficiency.

To make matters more difficult, today’s growing populations mean that communities are no longer located miles away from waste treatment facilities. It’s becoming more and more complicated for plant operators to minimise community impact without taking a toll on operational activities.

Predictive odour risk reports can provide a 72-hour window into the future so operators can plan ahead for high-risk shifts.

Environmental Intelligence to improve efficiency at the treatment facility
Maintenance activities at a waste or wastewater treatment facility are one of the biggest culprits for releasing odour into the atmosphere, leading to complaints from surrounding communities. Even if these activities are carried out in a controlled fashion, rapid changes in weather can still cause an unforeseen nuisance for the neighbours.

However, environmental intelligence (EI) solution, organisations can easily know when to schedule maintenance activities and avoid excess odour emissions. Operators can get a 72-hour window into the future using insights from predictive emissions and weather models. This enables teams to concentrate work toward periods of minimal emission risk, while staying notified in real time for any potential breach in the future.

Using meteorological modelling can pinpoint likely sources of odour complaints in the community.

Ensure regulatory compliance via EI solutions
Breaches of compliance regulations from relevant environmental authorities becoming more and more stringent. Therefore, it is critical for wastewater treatment plants to be armed with a robust system to avoid costly penalties.

Real-time analysis to understand where to focus environmental investigation or getting a bird’s eye view of a site’s odour monitoring network can provide operators with powerful tools to manage odour. Emissions dispersion modelling using site-specific information for early warnings and allows operators to act on potential issues and avoid community impact while staying compliant.

In 2017, the UK’s largest water and wastewater services company, Thames Water (TW) eliminated its need to invest large number of resources into investigation of odour incidents by using EI solutions to improve operational management. According to the case study, TW implemented the Envirosuite platform or real-time analysis of operational issues as well as diagnosis of upset conditions to gain a faster, clearer picture of potential emissions.

There are now a growing number of organisations around the world following in their footsteps – including major wastewater and waste management sites in Australia.

Earn community trust through stakeholder engagement
The reputation of waste or wastewater treatment plant could be the difference between its operational growth and significant roadblocks. EI solutions enable facilities to pinpoint problematic sources of odour, get early warning alerts and focus investigations on the right place before emissions leave the site’s boundaries.

A pioneer of EI solutions—Envirosuite—has a pedigree of over 3 decades working in the odour management space and assisting industrial operations in the community trust through stakeholder engagement. Their environmental intelligence platform offers real-time monitoring, visualisation of exceedance alerts, and emissions modelling for waste and wastewater treatment facilities.

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