A diverse range of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted from wastewater biosolids processing. Odorous emissions are predominately made up of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) which are typically the only odorants measured. However, a range of VOCs are known to contribute to malodours yet previous studies often overlook the contribution of VOCs in comparison with VSCs.
Opportunities for the beneficial re-use of biosolids are limited by nuisance odour emissions. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from anaerobically stabilised biosolids were measured to identify compounds that could contribute to the overall odour character of nuisance emissions. Flux hood sampling and chemical analysis were used to identify VOCs emitted from biosolids as they were stored in ambient conditions. Compounds emitted varied as the biosolid cakes were stored for a period of 50 days.
Volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) are important contributors to nuisance odours from the processing of wastewater sludge and biosolids. However, emission characteristics are difficult to predict as they vary between sites and are likely to be affected by biosolids processing configuration and operation.