Odours caused by volatile organic sulphides (VOS) have a history spanning over 20 years for Philadelphia's Northeast Water Pollution Control Plant (NEWPCP). A “canned corn” type of odour has caused residential complaints. Traditional odour control approaches based on hydrogen sulphide failed. This study confirmed that dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO) from a chemical facility was the dominant cause of the “canned corn” nuisance odour in the form of dimethyl sulphide (DMS). During a discharge, DMSO concentrations up to 12 mg/L were found in the influent of the NEWPCP. Each DMSO concentration peak induced a DMS peak. DMS concentrations increased from less than 50 μg/L to 6 mg/L with a corresponding decrease in DMSO. Approximately 79% of DMSO from the primary sedimentation influent was passed to the effluent, and to downstream processes, such as the aeration tanks where the DMS was volatilised by the aeration. The DMS partial pressure in ambient air of NEWPCP can be between 0.03 and 0.18 × 10−3 atm during a DMSO discharge. From the above information, the potential of VOS production is estimated and a practical plan for remediation can be designed.

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