Of all our recurring industry events, the WEF Odors and Air Pollutants Specialty Conference is the event we look forward to the most. While wastewater collection and treatment are of vital importance to protect public health and the environment, most of our industry’s work is out of sight and out of mind for the general public – unless it stinks.

Odor control is vital to the public perception and acceptance of most wastewater systems, and sometimes vital to obtaining and maintaining permits to build and operate crucial wastewater treatment facilities. And every two years wastewater industry professionals gather to spend three days sharing and learning about this important aspect of wastewater treatment.

The biggest contributor to odors in wastewater facilities is anaerobic activity in collection systems. Water conservation increases the strength of wastewater and the detention time in collection systems, which leads to more anaerobic activity and therefore more odor. The biggest contributor to odor is hydrogen sulfide, which also leads to corrosion. As our systems are generating more odor and as development continues to encroach on once-isolated wastewater facilities, odors and corrosion become bigger issues for more utilities every year.

The 2020 Odors and Air Pollutants Specialty Conference has something for everyone who is dealing with odors, air pollutants, and corrosion. Utility managers, operators, engineers, and technology vendors will all find topics of interest. There will be sessions on utility-wide management topics including:

  • Odor modeling
  • Odor monitoring and performance assessment
  • Community relations
  • Utility odor management and planning

And sessions on problem-specific topics including:

  • Odor and Corrosion Mitigation
  • Odor and Corrosion Treatment
  • Innovative treatment technologies

Beyond the technical sessions, social and networking opportunities abound. The “Meet the Speakers” evening gives the opportunity to talk one on one with the presenters in an intimate and fun setting. There have been cardboard noses and stuffed skunks at this event in the past. Who knows what will happen this year?

Odor is truly an issue that touches all of wastewater collection and treatment and the WEF Odors and Air Pollutants Specialty Conference has something for everyone in the industry. We hope to see you all in Cincinnati!


Want more Odors and Air Pollutants content?

LISTEN to Vaughan Harshman, PE, MBA of Evoqua Water Technologies discuss the state of odors and air pollutants. In this Words on Water Podcast, Harshman discusses how odor problems develop for water utilities, methods for controlling and reducing odors, community engagement that happens when there is a problem, and more. Listen Now.

Vaughan Harshman and Mark Perkins

Vaughn Harshman and Mark Perkins

Vaughan Harshman, left, and Mark Perkins are co-chairs of the 2020 Odors and Air Pollutants Conference. Harshman is Capital Sales Director at Evoqua Water Technologies and Perkins is president of Perkins Engineering Consultants Inc., a Texas-based water/wastewater engineering firm.

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