Most people have no idea where their local wastewater treatment plant is located, but our treatment plants are oftentimes hidden in plain sight in busy residential areas. That’s why the odor control team at NTMWD works hard every day to manage and minimize the odors coming from the plants.
Wastewater service is often undervalued but absolutely essential to:
- Protecting public health
- Being good stewards of our environment
- Supporting a vital economy
New businesses coming to town need water and wastewater services, which occasionally requires us to expand our existing treatment plants or add new pipelines. However, as we grow to meet this demand, our team still works hard to remain a good neighbor through odor management.
Our odor control team is on-call 24/7 to investigate complaints from residents throughout our entire system. This three-man team monitors gas levels, maintains equipment, and responds to citizen complaints about smells in their neighborhoods. The team also works closely with the cities to determine if the source of the odor is coming from our lines or theirs, and then we work together to come up with a solution and to keep our neighbors happy. With more than 250 miles of pipe in our system and 14 wastewater treatment plants, it’s no easy task.
So how does odor control work? Here’s the basic process:
- The foul air is collected from several areas of the plant and sent through pipes to odor control units.
- Then we use chemical scrubbers*, biological scrubbers (microorganisms), and activated carbon filters to treat the air before it is released.
- Any liquid waste that is produced is sent back through the wastewater plant to be cleaned and treated.
We have made significant investments in odor control management. Odor control chemicals cost more than $3 million annually. As our regional population continues to grow, we will continue to honor our commitment to be good stewards of the environment and good neighbors to everyone around us.
*CHEMICAL SCRUBBING: a gas scrubbing method in which contaminants are removed from the gas stream. During this process the gas stream passes through a packed structure with a large wet surface area. The wet area enables contact between the gas and the scrubbing chemicals and allows for removal of contaminants from the gas stream.