New Odor Control

The Douglasville-Douglas County Water and Sewer Authority (WSA) has been delivering quality water and wastewater service to more than 90,000 Douglas County residents for over 17 years.

System Helps Cut Complaints

The Douglasville-Douglas County Water and Sewer Authority (WSA) has been delivering quality water and wastewater service to more than 90,000 Douglas County residents for over 17 years.

WSA's slogan "Award-Winning Service For Our Local Community," proves to be much more than just advertising jargon. Over the past 17 years, the authority's honors have included three citations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for best wastewater treatment plant in the EPA's seven-state Southeast region, two citations from the EPA for best wastewater treatment plant in the nation and one award for best overall water system operation in the EPA's seven-state Southeast region.

On the flip side of all the accolades are the complaints coming from neighbors immediately surrounding the WSA's Southside Water Pollution Control Plant about nuisance odors from the plant — a familiar problem in the wastewater industry. As is often the case, the increase in complaints about offensive odors was due more to urban sprawl than to any additional odors being created by the plant.

The plant was originally built in the late 1970s in a largely undeveloped area. Eventually, developers came in and built a subdivision in the vicinity. Since the early to mid 90s the subdivision has continued to grow and houses have been built closer and closer to the utility.

One of the offending odors causing complaints was the naturally occurring odor given off by a properly operated activated sludge plant. According to Smith, "It's got a musty dirt smell, which typically isn't offensive but when you're not used to it, it can be."

Biosolids treatment, between operating the digesters and belt filter press, was believed to be the source of the more obnoxious odors that generated complaints. Though these didn't occur all of the time, the odors could be considered a nuisance by neighbors.

As a responsible neighbor, WSA decided to do something about the odors.

In June of 2003, based on a referral from another wastewater utility, WSA began using Ecosorb® Natural Organic Odor Neutralizer, available from Odor Management Inc. The product has worked well, and the number of complaints has dropped, said Lee Smith, Superintendent of the Southside Wastewater Treatment Plant.

"We keep a log of complaints we receive, and they are way down since June," Smith said.

The Douglasville utility treats between 2.5 and 3 million gallons of wastewater per day. Operators use a concentrated form of Ecosorb, which they dilute with water and spray into odorous areas in an atomized mist. The ratio, said Smith, varies between 1 and 1.5 gallons of product to 55 gallons of water. A 5-gallon supply of the concentrated product typically treats odors at the plant for 10 days to 2 weeks.

When atomized, the droplets electrostatically attract the molecules that form the odor, then capture and neutralize them, diminishing their volatility until they are reduced to their lowest possible form. In this way, Ecosorb eliminates the odors — rather than simply masking them with fragrances or harsh chemicals.

The product is effective with odorous gases, including hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, ammonia, ethyl mercaptan and methyl mercaptan. Systems are custom-designed for each unique application and facility.

Ecosorb is non-toxic, non-hazardous and biodegradable. It contains no VOCs, and is safe for both humans and the environment. The product has been tested according to U.S. EPA guidelines and authorized for use by the USDA.

There are currently over 200 Ecosorb installations across the United States and Canada. Learn more about the product at

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