There’s No “One Size Fits All” Approach to Landfill Odor Control. Here’s Why.

by Byers Scientific | November 29, 2021 | Blog | Odor

Irksome odors from municipal solid waste create a deep divide between facilities and the communities they serve. The unintended consequences of poor landfill odor control can cost facility managers valuable time, energy, and money. While odor mitigation techniques remain the best option for facilities, generic solutions usually come with a large price tag and minimal results. 

Opting for a “one size fits all” approach to landfill odor control is ineffective because it doesn’t take into account your facility’s topography, unique off-gassing composition and patterns, or adapt to ever-changing environmental factors. 

The Challenges with Controlling Landfill Odors

No matter how you slice it, generic solutions to landfill odor control can’t ensure lasting results that address your facility’s unique concerns. 

Your Facility’s Off-Gassing Composition is Unique

Municipal solid waste facilities might look similar on the outside, but the composition of the waste they handle (and as a result, the odorous compounds they emit) can vary drastically from one facility to another. 

On top of the more common chemicals off-gassing from a landfill like methane and carbon dioxide, the rest of a facility’s chemical profile can be made up of just about anything. Chemical compositions can change depending on the location, climate, and other environmental factors in and around the facility.

There are a number of different odor-causing chemicals that contribute to landfill odors, including non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) and the particularly odorous hydrogen sulfides. 

There’s no way to know which specific chemicals are creating issues in your facility without proper data collection and analysis of emissions.

The Environment Around Your Facility Impacts Your Off-gassing Footprint

On top of a unique odor profile, each facility has its own set of environmental factors that affect how odors migrate and impact nearby communities and workers. 

Weather, seasonality, and even moon phases, can impact how odors move around a facility. 

Airflow patterns and humidity levels in and around your facility can also greatly impact the distance these odors can travel.

With so many moving parts, it can be very difficult for facilities to pinpoint the cause of odor complaints, particularly when there is no data collection in place to track these environmental changes. 

Methods and Techniques for Landfill Odor Control, and their Effectiveness

Odor is highly subjective in nature, so addressing even small amounts of odorous chemicals coming from your facility can make a huge difference to neighboring communities. And while there are many tips, methods, and techniques out there to help manage landfill odors, not all techniques are equally effective. 

Misting vs Vapor Phase Systems 

Misting is a great example of a popular, yet widely ineffective mitigation technique. This technique aims to trap odorous chemicals in water droplets and drag them down to the ground. But as soon as temperatures rise, the water turns to gas and the odors are released into the air in large quantities.

Misting also comes with added issues like damp surfaces and clogged nozzles that need regular maintenance. 

On the other hand, vapor phase systems, when utilized properly with effective odor neutralizers, meet odorous chemicals in the air and neutralize rather than mask them. Not only is a properly designed and properly installed vapor phase system more effective at neutralizing and eliminating odors, but it is also more sustainable because it uses less water to operate.

At Byers Scientific, we help our solid waste clients combat nuisance odors through the utilization of our patented mobile and stationary vapor phase systems. With minimal maintenance and easy-to-operate models that work year-round, you can stop odors in their tracks, and eliminate them at the source. 

Filtration Systems

Filtration systems are another widely-used odor mitigation solution for certain solid waste operations. Also called “carbon scrubbing,” in properly designed molecular filtration systems, odorous compounds are adsorbed and trapped inside the porous surface of activated carbon.

These systems, like our MT-6 Molecular Filtration System, can effectively eliminate odors for solid waste facilities. But careful consideration needs to be made when selecting and utilizing these systems. For example, it’s important to consider the number and size of carbon scrubbers required to properly address problem odor emissions. With our custom-built odor mitigation systems, we can calculate the precise number of air exchanges required to efficiently and effectively control odors inside a facility using our molecular filtration units.  

The Importance of Continuous Monitoring In Landfill Odor Mitigation

Not only is it important to understand your solid waste facility’s odor profile before you decide which mitigation techniques are best for you, it’s equally important to track changes in your facility to ensure long-term odor control.

If something in your facility changes, like humidity, air currents, or even the composition of your facility’s odorous compounds, and you have no way of knowing, your odor mitigation solutions could become outdated and ineffective investments.

The real key to eliminating irksome odors is proper understanding of your facility’s unique odor profile and continuous monitoring of not only odor control equipment operation and performance but also changing environmental factors.

At Byers Scientific, we offer cloud-based remote monitoring of our intelligent odor control systems for 24/7 control and data as well as real-time environmental monitoring and reporting, so your mitigation techniques can adapt with changing conditions. 

Your Site’s Composition is Unique—Your Landfill Odor Control Techniques Should Be Too

At Byers Scientific, we dedicate our time, energy, and resources to help solid waste operators identify, analyze, and mitigate malodors so that they can focus on providing a valuable service to their communities rather than defending themselves from complaints from those communities.

With detailed data from our state-of-the-art emissions analysis process, we help solid waste operators identify the unique compounds causing malodors. Armed with that critical information, we then design custom mitigation strategies and install appropriate equipment to target and mitigate (not just mask) the unique odor compositions while taking into account environmental factors.

And with our Cloud-based SCADA platform, mitigation efforts can be tracked and analyzed in real-time to ensure solutions are flexible and effective for the long-term. 

Our odor mitigation efforts help solid waste facilities like yours effectively achieve compliance, reduce water consumption, and pave the way for a more sustainable future.

Learn more about our landfill odor control techniques today.