Odour emissions are a major environmental issue in wastewater treatment plants and are considered to be the main cause of disturbance noticed by the exposed population. Odour measurement is carried out using analytical or sensorial methods. Sensorial analysis, being assigned to the “human sensor”, is the cause of a considerable uncertainty. In this study a correlation between analytical and sensorial methods was investigated. A novel tool was used to both define odour indexes and characterise the odour sources and the volatile substances that cause annoyance in a wastewater treatment plant, with the aim to remove the subjective component in the measure of the odours and define the induced impact. The sources and the main chemical substances responsible for the olfactory annoyances were identified. Around 36 different substances were detected, with more than half being smell relevant components as well as responsible. Dimethyl disulphide was identified as key compound. Results highlight the applicability of highly correlation between analytical and sensorial methods in odour emission monitoring.

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