Odour Treatment with a High Efficiency Advanced Biofilter in a Large Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant Located in the North of Spain

Nadal, S.1, Lopez, A.2, Poulsen, A.3, Bouchy, L.4, 1Sistemas y Tecnologias Ambientales, Spain, 2Consorcio de Aguas de Bilbao-Bizkaia, Spain, 3BBK Bio airclean A/S, 4SUEZ Water Advanced Solutions UK



The study is focused on a large Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) located in the North of Spain. Despite treating the pretreatment emissions in a two step chemical scrubber, the gases emitted by the facility were causing significant nuisance to the population living closely to the plant. After a complete study, the ventilation system of the whole sludge line was rebuilt and is now treated through a High Efficiency Advanced Biofilter (HEAB), filled with Organic and inorganic biomedia. Since its installation there have been no more odour complaints.

The main purpose of this work is to explain the complete project carried out, which included:

  • Sampling and analysis of all the emissions points or surface from the water and the sludge line.
  • Odour impact Modelling of the emissions in the “current scenario” and with the new ventilation system and of the treated emissions
  • Full comparison of the different odour abatement technologies (taking into account odour removal efficiency, chemical requirements, surface requirements, CAPEX and OPEX)
  • Selection of odour abatement technology (the HEAB was selected)
  • Description of the design, delivery, installation and of the performance of the High Efficiency Advanced Biofilter.

Keywords HEAB, odour, WWTP, odour treatment technologies


The WWTP of Galindo located in Bilbao-Spain is a large WWTP that treats close to 350,000m3 of municipal waste water per day. This WWTP was built in 1985 in in the surroundings of the city but due to the urban growth, this plant was surrounded by residential and commercial areas in just a few years and the odour complaints appeared and increased year after year.

In 2007 the owner of the WWTP decided to start a very detailed project in order to reduce the odour impact of this facility in the surrounding area. This project was divided in different phases, first a detailed odour and chemical characterization of the different air emissions of the plant was carried out, followed by the modelling study to calculate the odour impact that allowed to find out the main emission sources causing the odour problems. Finally an engineering study was carried out that allowed to choose which technology was the most suitable for this case, given the best odour removal efficiency but that at the same time has the lowest operational cost.

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