Sustainable Odour Control in Urban Environments

James Scott-Bowden, Managing Director, ERG (Air Pollution Control)


With an ever increasing focus on sustainability, the municipal recycling sector is increasingly locating waste recycling facilities in urban environments to be closer to their waste sources.
The odour control industry needs to respond to this trend by providing ever more efficient odour extraction technologies to minimise any odour nuisance to their residential community neighbours.
In addition, cost pressures (and social responsibility) drive the development and design of more energy efficient odour control systems for a reduced carbon footprint.
This paper reviews some of the new design approaches and innovative technologies available, many of which ERG have employed in some recent installations.
Carbon filters, bio-filters, fugitive odours, municipal composting, odour control, urban waste handling, VOCs.
The kerb-side collection of garden waste and food waste from urban areas represents a potentially valuable source of raw material for the production of stabilised nitrogen rich compost which can be used in agriculture. Aerobic composting with garden waste is a cost effective way of disposing of food waste and alleviates the demand for waste to be disposed of at landfill sites.
A significant cost factor in this process is the cost of kerb-side waste collection. Hence placing composting facilities close to their source of waste is attractive financially, as well as environmentally in terms of minimising the carbon foot print. The drawback however, is that treatment locally means locating waste handling and treatment facilities in densely populated urban areas.
A further factor is that composting in urban areas is carried out using enclosed (in-vessel) composting techniques. This is an intensive rapid process which generates high peak odour emissions.
Efficient odour control is therefore vital to ensure that waste treatment facilities are welcomed within their communities for their contribution to driving waste recycling. In addition, planning permissions and operating licences for such facilities are approved by local authorities supported by odour dispersion modelling and stringent odour emission concentration limits from the site. Waste recycling operators therefore need to invest in odour control systems to keep within the limits set by their operating licences.
ERG working with TEG Environmental Ltd, who supply state of the art in-vessel composters, has recently installed odour control systems at 3 sites around Greater Manchester. Each site processes approximately 1,200 tonnes of kerb-side green waste and food waste per week, converting this waste to 1,000 tonnes per week of compost.
ERG has also recently installed an odour control system at a rural composting site in Devon which also produces compost for agricultural use.
This paper will explain some of the issues which influence the design of high efficiency odour control systems for aerobic composting facilities in urban environments and will compare some of the differences between the odour control systems used for rural and urban sites.

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