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What is that smell?

Have you ever noticed in your neighborhood or different parts of your town that you smell an odor that is similar to the smell of rotten eggs? The odor that you are smelling is most likely hydrogen sulfide which is being emitted from your local wastewater system. Yes, it smells like rotten eggs and can exist as a gas or be dissolved in water. Hydrogen sulfide or H2S is created by bacteria in wastewater as a bi-product of eating food (BOD) under anaerobic(relating to, involving, or requiring an absence of free oxygen conditions).

Anaerobic conditions can exist and sulfides can form in various locations, such as:

  • Pumping stations, including wet wells and force mains

  • Large diameter, low velocity gravity sewer lines

  • Storage basins, including equalization and sludge holding basins

Sulfides are released and odors can occur in various locations, such as:

  • Force main discharge manholes

  • Air relief valves

  • Drop manholes

  • Lift station wet wells

Typical Sewage Lift Station in a Typical Neighborhood

Why is This a Concern and How is it Solved?

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) tends to form in wastewater anywhere sewage is allowed to go without oxygen for a significant amount of time. The H2S gas is what causes that very offensive rotten egg smell. Prolonged exposure to Hydrogen Sulfide is a major safety concern. A few of these health risks can be as mild as a headache to severe lung infections or even worse, death.

Hydrogen Sulfide has corrosive properties that can ruin main lines and cause overflow destroying the environment around and near the lift station or plant location.

So how do wastewater plant and lift station operators manage and control sewer stations and wastewater plants from dangerous levels of hydrogen sulfide? There are current innovations like scrubbers and chemical dosing pumps using chemicals such as Hydrogen Peroxide to treat wastewater but these methods in and off themselves are not always adequate. . They include a mechanical scrubber and the use of chemical dosing. An odor scrubber system works by removing the odor causing compounds from the air at the point of odor, while chemical addition processes generally remove and prevent odors further downstream. A chemical dosing system consists of one or more chemical tanks, chemical pumps and a mechanism for dispersing the chemicals into the sewage system effectively. There are several types of chemicals and or chemical combinations that can be used depending on the application.

Typical Scrubber System Utilized in Some Odor Control Applications

Typical Chemical Dosing System Utilized in Some Odor Control Applications

These existing treatment technologies have been available for a while and are fairly effective for treating most odor control problems. The technologies are constantly being approved upon. But, the weakest link is the monitoring and controlling technology. The current available technologies for monitoring and controlling these systems are antiquated and cost prohibitive. The most important piece of the system is the accurate controlling, dispersing, and monitoring of the specific system. The right technology will save chemicals and money for the customer while also providing the most precise and accurate operation and functionality of the system.

There has been no reason for technology corporations involved with selling in the municipal wastewater market to update or upgrade their products. The people who work in the field of wastewater treatment whether it be in the sales or the technology implementation side have, in most cases, been there for over 40 years and have standardized and settled for what they have been utilizing for years, SCADA software, PLCs, etc. These technologies are for the most part adequate. The problem is that they are cost-prohibitive for a lot of smaller towns and municipalities. These municipalities all across the US and as well as other countries do not have the resources to acquire these products and have been forced to try and facilitate and maintain their wastewater systems with a lack of necessary personnel and technology.

There is a company whose founders have collectively been involved in the industrial controls and IoT, IIoT, and smart home world for over 30 years. AccuDose, LLC has introduced a new cloud-based cost-effective technological solution to fit any budget. Introducing the AccuWatch RMC-3000 odor control system.

The AccuWatch RMC-3000 via cellular and the internet can control and monitor the operations of the odor control treatment systems in neighborhood sewage lift stations 24/7 to ensure the system is performing and controlling for optimum treatment and chemical disbursement

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