Tackling nuisance odour – H2S detection down to single digit ppb level

Dave Quelch
Dave Quelch

Able Instruments & Controls has long held the belief that their partner company Ametek Brookfield produces the best-in-class parts per billion hydrogen sulphide analyser, with its high accuracy and specificity.

In this article, Dave Quelch, ABLE’s Business Development & Marketing Manager, highlights the long and successful relationship the Jerome Gold Film H2S Analyser has had with the water companies throughout the UK and Europe and its impressive track record in helping to tackle nuisance odour emissions.

Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) poses a dual-edged challenge in wastewater systems. Firstly, the toxic gas leads to immediate issues as the characteristic “rotten egg” odour impacts nearby communities and jeopardizes the safety of workers. Secondly the corrosive nature of H2S has significant long-term consequences for valuable sewer assets such as concrete pipes, which may deteriorate within a mere 10-20 years instead of their expected lifespan of 50-100 years.

Utilities possess many tools and techniques for mitigating H2S but struggle to optimise these activities due to a lack of reliable insights into the true scale and dynamics of their problems. Consequently, utilities have acknowledged the necessity for better data as an enabler of proactive and efficient H2S control.

Hydrogen Sulphide is a by-product of microbial activity during the decomposition of organic matter in wastewater and it is primarily formed through the metabolic processes of sulphate-reducing bacteria (SRB) under oxygen free (anaerobic) conditions. Various organic compounds present in wastewater, such as sulphates and sulphites, serve as energy sources for SRB’s resulting in the production of H2S and its associated foul rotten egg odour.

Before taking any action against H2S, it is important to first understand the problem. Accurate data is essential for optimizing control strategies, but reliably estimating fluctuating H2S levels in extreme environments is not straightforward.

ABLE Instruments & Controls Ltd has had the good fortune to be closely associated with the Jerome Gold Film Hydrogen Sulphide Analyser since the company’s inception almost 40 years ago. Able is Ametek Brookfield’s exclusive partner for sales and service in UK, Scandinavia and parts of Europe, and is the official service centre for repair and calibration, offering the only internationally traceable facility outside the manufacturer’s US facility.

J605 in open cab

The Jerome’s unique gold film sensor combines unrivalled sensitivity (LLD 3ppb) with high specificity, being unaffected by the cross sensitivities that compromise several of its rivals.

For many years now the Jerome has offered the water utilities fast and reliable nuisance odour detection and measurement via both its portable and fixed monitoring variants.

At one of the largest sewage treatment works in the UK, with a troublesome history of creating significant odour levels in neighbouring residential areas, ABLE installed fixed monitoring Jeromes at key positions around the perimeter of the sewage treatment works creating what they have since referred to as “The ring of steel”.  The analysers are located at positions of greatest odour production potential around the works such as anaerobic digestors, bar screens, grit chambers, settling tanks and sludge dewatering systems. This way the Jeromes can react immediately to any odour event, communicating concentration and location to the site SCADA system, therefore facilitating either a hard engineered or a chemical dosing-based solution to the problem. All data collection is backed up by an onboard logging system that can be downloaded straight onto a PC or a memory stick. Its automated sampling and regeneration functions facilitate longer periods of unattended monitoring.

The implementation of the network of Jeromes formed part of a £50m upgrade aimed at alleviating the odour issues.

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