Vodokanal initiates amendments to current legislation to improve control over unpleasant odor from industries


On December 18, the online workshop “Legislation in New Year” - the traditional final event of the Russian Association for Water Supply and Sanitation (RAWSS) - ended. The participants discussed adopted or current legal initiatives and raised the acute issue of legislative control over unpleasant odors from wastewater facilities and their regulation.

Olga Rublevskaya, Director of Department of Analysis and Process Development of Water Supply and Wastewater Disposal Systems of SUE “Vodokanal of St.Petersburg” was moderator of the section “Odors from water and wastewater facilities. Chemicals and requirements” which took place on the last day of the workshop.

Unpleasant odors are typical for many industrial plants. The Russian system of hygienic standardization does not meet the demands of the modern society any more. Residents are concerned not only with the safety of life, but also with its comfort which covers lack of unpleasant odors. The odor issue lies outside the scope of current legislative norms.

Supervisory authorities do not use olfactometry (a set of methods to measure the sensitivity of the sense of smell) in their emissions control activities because the Russian legislation does not provide odor regulations. It means that there is no legal basis for odors determination and monitoring in Russia. Companies which operate according to tariff regulation do not have the legal ability to justify the costs and set the budget for planning and implementing odor control activities. 

The legislative definition of terms “odor”, “regional odor standards” is needed as well as a unified method of odor determination taking into consideration the experience of other countries and the specific features of each region.

In 2020, the legislative initiative of the Legislative Assembly of St.Petersburg on amendments to the Federal Law No. 96-FZ “On the protection of the ambient air” dated 4.05.1999 was discussed.  The participants were focused on the need to initiate amendments to the current legislation regarding house construction restriction and vegetation clearance prohibition for the zones of odor influence associated with water facilities of the country.

SUE “Vodokanal of St. Petersburg” has been strictly controlling odors from wastewater disposal facilities and continuously searching for the efficient methods of odors reduction. A number of Vodokanal’s case studies and process solutions were presented in the discussion session.

In 2020, for example, the Central Aeration Station conducted laboratory and production tests of a chemical neutralizing odors. The results of organoleptic examination of samples showed the efficient influence of the chemical on removing odors from wastewater sludge. 

Earlier, the Company completed the adsorption gas treatment technology trial project at Vasileostrovskaya sewage pumping station. The purification efficiency for hydrogen sulfide - a marker substance for water and wastewater plants - was 99%. The new filters proved to be efficient and economically feasible. Vodokanal plans to apply the new technology of unpleasant odors removal at the city sewage pumping stations.