The Llobregat River is a basic drinking water resource for the city of Barcelona, meeting 40% of the demand. The river runs through a densely populated industrial area, so that it has in its history experienced various episodes due to industrial spills. The present work deals with a recent episode involving diacetyl. To the best of our knowledge this episode is the first time that this compound has been identified as an odour-causing compound in water. In a previous work the analytical method used for the identification of the compound causing the episode was described. The present work focuses its attention on how the episode was handled: action taken at the Sant Joan Despí water treatment plant and the sampling strategy on the river that led to the identification of the company responsible for the spill, a paper mill. It also deals with the role played by the FPA panel in the resolution of the episode: organoleptic description of samples of the problem in the initial phase of the episode (from the treatment plant, distribution network and customer complaints) and, once the compound responsible was identified, the determination of its organoleptic characteristics (odour threshold, odour descriptors, Weber-Fechner curve).
Managing an odour episode in Barcelona's water supply: strategies adopted, the causative agent (diacetyl) and determination of its organoleptic properties
J. Martín-Alonso, R. Devesa, A. Bernal, L. Matia; Managing an odour episode in Barcelona's water supply: strategies adopted, the causative agent (diacetyl) and determination of its organoleptic properties. Water Sci Technol 1 March 2007; 55 (5): 209–216. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wst.2007.181
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