Clearing the air naturally

April 2010 » Web Exclusive
Biological treatment removes odors at a wastewater pump station.
A skid-mounted EcoFilter EF51 system can treat as much as 1,000 cubic feet per minute of air and as much as 500 parts per million of hydrogen sulfide from the Atlantic County, N.J., wastewater pump station.

Residents living in the vicinity the Historic Smithville and Village Green shopping and dining area near Atlantic City , N.J. , had to deal with more than weekend traffic on the roads around the quaint shops among the pines. The nearby Smithville Pump Station of the Atlantic County Utility Authority (ACUA) had been a frequent source of odor complaints from nearby homeowners.

Project
Smithville Wastewater Pump Station odor control

Owner
Atlantic County Utility Authority, N.J.

Product application
BioAir EcoFilter technology uses bacteria to consume odorous compounds naturally.

To address the issue of odors at the site, the ACUA had previously installed a liquid-phase odor-mitigation system. This system used sodium hypochlorite, which was injected into the wastewater. While sometimes effective in battling odors, this approach involves the use of large quantities of costly, hazardous, and environmentally harmful chemicals. Other vapor-phase odor-treatment systems had also been tried, although with limited success.

The use of these hazardous chemicals to mitigate the odor issue represented a conflict to the ACUA's policy of being an environmentally conscious organization. In its mission statement, the ACUA stresses that it will “use new technologies, innovations, and employee ideas to provide the highest quality and most cost-effective environmental services.” For example, in 2005, the ACUA established a large wind farm at its regional wastewater treatment plant in Atlantic City . The plant also operates a large solar array to further contribute to its generation of green power.

The ACUA was looking for a more environmentally friendly option for handling odors — while also reducing operating costs and maintenance efforts — when it met with BioAir Solutions in the summer of 2009 to discuss the EcoFilter odor-control technology. The EcoFilter system is a biotrickling filter, recently developed through a year-long research and development study, that eliminates odors using only biological means. Inside the system, bacteria grow on BioAir's proprietary EcoBase structured synthetic media, where they naturally consume (oxidize) hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and other odorous compounds.

The by-products of the treatment process are odorless and are rinsed from the EcoBase media (with a life expectancy in excess of 10 years) and drained back into the wastewater collection system. Because the odorous compounds are oxidized to an odorless state, and since EcoBase media uses no hazardous chemicals, the process is environmentally friendly and sustainable. As a result, the BioAir EcoFilter technology can become the ACUA's green solution for sustainable biological odor control.

BioAir and the ACUA determined that the Smithville pump station was the best location for the EcoFilter system. The station receives wastewater from nearby residential neighborhoods that is discharged into the collection system via an 18-inch force main feeding the treatment plant. Measurements show that H2S concentrations in the station's wet well can reach 100 parts per million (ppm) by volume. These odor issues provided excellent conditions both to demonstrate the effectiveness of BioAir's EcoFilter technology and to solve a significant problem for nearby residents and visitors during the test phase.

In early September 2009, BioAir Solutions delivered a completely skid-mounted EcoFilter EF51 system consisting of the reactor vessel with EcoBase media, electrical and water control systems, a blower, and H2S data-logging instrumentation. The system has an air treatment capacity of as much as 1,000 cubic feet per minute (cfm) and as much as 500 ppm of H2S. The 5-foot-diameter, 10-foot-tall vessel and other components fit into a 12- by 7-foot footprint.

Since startup in October 2009, the BioAir EcoFilter system has reduced H2S concentrations by more than 99 percent, virtually eliminating overall odors in the vicinity of the pump station. The BioAir system has also allowed the ACUA to reduce substantially the injection of odor-mitigating chemicals in the wastewater collection system, lessening the associated operating costs and maintenance work. Also as important, the ACUA has developed experience with a sustainable green solution for handling wastewater treatment odor issues. The ultimate goal is to eliminate the use of chemicals altogether.

Although installation of wastewater collection systems in residential neighborhoods is often necessary, the impact of odors on these neighborhoods is unacceptable to residents and visitors. BioAir Solutions' EcoFilter technology can provide a long-term, technologically advanced, environmentally friendly solution to this difficult problem.

This article was contributed by BioAir Solutions ( http://www.bioairsolutions.com), a Voorhees, N.J.-based company that provides biological odor and air emissions control solutions.


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