Odor Control

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An Aesthetic Concern


Odors come from many sources in our community—not only our WWTP, but also feed lots, meat processing and food processing plants, and other area industries.

Odors are derived from airborne chemical molecules. Other odors, like wastewater, are unpleasant but they do not cause illness and are not a health concern in the low concentrations that exist outside the wastewater treatment site. Odors that emanate from waste treatment do not carry bacteria and germs.

Bacteria that create odors in wastewater/bio-solids, which help to break down waste, are also abundantly present almost everywhere in our world. They are the same types of bacteria responsible for the breakdown of all organic matter, but these types of bacteria are not carriers of diseases. The odors these bacteria emit are gaseous chemicals which cannot transport bacteria or viruses.

The goal of treatment is decontamination, but ironically cleaning of sewage can also be smelly. Bio-Solids, the sludge that results from the (waste) treatment, still smells unpleasantly.

Odor Control at WWTP

The City of Grand Island strives to be a good neighbor by taking steps to control odors as part of our normal plant operations. We also consider opportunities for odor control in every upgrade we make to our system. When you consider that Grand Island's WWTP has 10 million gallons of sewage waste a day to deal with-you understand that odor control is a challenge we face. So, what can be done?

Odors at a wastewater treatment plant are usually controlled by a combination of the following: 

  • Preventing odors from forming by optimizing treatment processes. 
  • Reducing odors by adding chemicals such as ferric chloride or oxygen. 
  • Capturing odors by enclosing plant treatment processes to reduce odor release. 
  • Scrubbing or treating odorous air, using equipment such as biofilters.

City officials and our WWTP staff take pride in our community. The quality and freshness of our outdoor air influences our daily enjoyment of the city. If you smell unpleasant or foul odors outdoors please call or email city administration officials and they will investigate. If the odors relate to city operations, including the wastewater treatment plant, the city will take steps to try to control and eliminate the odors. If the odors relate to private citizens' actions or industry operations, officials will note the matter and take action if appropriate.

Please call the Public Works Department at (308) 385- 5455 if you have an odor concern or complaint, or email Public Works Administration. Submit the email using the link provided. A member of the City's administrative staff will receive the alert and will begin the process of investigating the odor to see if a remedy can be made.