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Sewerage Odors—How to Control

Waste Water Treatment

  1. Bradley A. Striebig

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047147844X.ww206

Water Encyclopedia

Water Encyclopedia

How to Cite

Striebig, B. A. 2005. Sewerage Odors—How to Control. Water Encyclopedia. 1:910–915.

Author Information

  1. Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005


Odors result from the perception of chemicals by the olfactory system. The response to odorants present in the air depends on the odor concentration, intensity, persistence, and character. Most sewerage odors are formed under anaerobic conditions; typical odorants include hydrogen sulfide, mercaptans, ammonia, amines, and volatile fatty acids.

The concentration of organic materials and nutrients in the sewerage, sulfate concentrations, temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, and residence time in the sewer system affect odor emissions. Control methods may be designed to prevent odors or control them from exhausted air. Oxygen and other chemical additives have been employed to reduce odors from sewers and wastewater treatment facilities. The additives reduce hydrogen sulfide emissions by chemical oxidation, microbial inhibition of sulfate reduction, precipitation, and pH control.

If odor prevention is not cost-effective, various odor control technologies are capable of removing odorous compounds exhausted from confined sources. The most common technologies for treating sewer-related odors are carbon adsorption, biofiltration, absorption, ozonation, and thermal oxidation. The cost associated with the control technologies, both capital and operational costs, must be considered. Research, experience, and comprehensive testing programs are important for determining the most cost-effective odor control methods.


  • odorants;
  • hydrogen sulfide;
  • sulfate concentrations;
  • dissolved oxygen;
  • microbial inhibition of sulfate reduction;
  • odor control technologies;
  • biofiltration;
  • ozonation