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Odor Control at Wastewater Treatment Plants: Can Hydroxyl Generators Help?

Posted by Tom McArdle on 1/19/21

Plant managers at wastewater and sewage treatment plants work hard to protect their employees from workplace hazards. Very real hazards exist, and there are risks that must be mitigated to keep everyone safe.

controlling-odors-at-a-wastewater-treatment-plant-odorox-hydroxyl-groupYou’re likely already keeping your workers safe through regulations, equipment inspections, protective gear, and worker training. Sometimes, plant managers have to spend so much time focusing on safety that other things fall to the wayside. 

Are you dealing with nuisance odors in your facility?  

Common Sources of Treatment Plant Odors

Many elements of a wastewater plant can cause odors. Some of these odors are a natural and safe byproduct, whereas others are a sign of a problem. These problems can even be dangerous if left untreated. 

Odors can derive from: 

Hydrogen sulfide is one of the common culprits of wastewater odors. According to OSHA, hydrogen sulfide is an irritant or chemical asphyxiant. 

Clearly, it's important to manage these odors and keep everything in working order. That way, you keep your employees and community safe. Finding the source of the problem odor is essential to resolving them. 

Today’s Odor-Removing Options

There are several ways that state-of-the-art treatment plants are working to reduce odors in their processes.


Masking is a strategy that facilities can use to stop complaints about odor, but it can’t solve the problem forever. Essentially, to mask an odor problem is to cover it up. This gives you time to find out the source of the problem and work to correct it. Masking hydrogen sulfide odors doesn’t make the problem go away, but it does reduce the issue while coming up with a strategy for fixing it. 


Filtration addresses odors that are carried in the air. By treating the air through a ventilation system, you can reduce the number of nuisance odors that you deal with daily. This is a better option than masking, but it’s not necessarily effective at all odor management. 

Installing an air filtration system can be a great strategy. 

Bio Scrubbing & Wet Scrubbing

Wet scrubbing, including bio scrubbing, treats the wastewater itself, rather than just the air. This allows you to neutralize the odors that come from both particulates and gasses. Choosing the right wet scrubbing process will depend on the specific chemical you are trying to treat. 

Hydroxyl Generators

Odorox® manufacturers state-of-the-art hydroxyl generators, which are used to eliminate odors and break down volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in indoor environments. This includes wastewater treatment plants. 

When the sun’s ultraviolet rays break apart water vapor, that process creates hydroxyl radicals (-OH). These hydroxyl radicals decompose chemicals in the air, and they are essential for keeping our atmosphere clean and livable. They prevent the development of harmful organic and inorganic compounds alike. 

This process doesn’t happen naturally indoors, because there isn’t enough sunlight. That’s where hydroxyl generators come in! They re-create the powerful UV process that sunlight uses in an indoor setting to clean and deodorize. 

Should you invest in a hydroxyl generator? 

Not everyone needs a hydroxyl generator. A traditional homeowner, for example, likely has no reason to own a machine like this. However, plant managers and contractors who work with them should definitely consider the benefits of these machines. 

They are effective and efficient, first of all. They can also be used for frequent or continuous use, which is great for plants that want to use them as part of their overall odor management system. They can also be rented so that they can be deployed quickly for sudden changes at a facility that requires urgent assistance.

Let’s talk!

Odorox® machines are rated for large, industrial spaces and can tackle heavy-duty deodorizing tasks. 

To learn more, get in touch with us today! We look forward to talking with you about how you can reduce nuisance odors in your facility. 



Topics: Water Damage, Heavy Duty Line, Industrial, Ask the Expert