Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 3404–3414 | Cite as

Understanding the effect of ventilation, intermittent pumping and seasonality in hydrogen sulfide and methane concentrations in a coastal sewerage system

  • Rita Ventura MatosEmail author
  • Filipa Ferreira
  • Carla Gil
  • José Saldanha Matos
Research Article


Gas pollutants emitted during wastewater transport contribute to atmospheric pollution, aggravated risks for utility workers, infrastructure corrosion, and odour nuisance. Field studies have shown that is difficult to effectively obtain reliable correlations between in-sewer air movement and gas pollutant concentrations. This study aimed at investigating the influence of different ventilation and operating conditions in H2S and CH4 horizontal and vertical movement in a section of a gravity sewer, downstream of a pumping station. Relevant liquid and gas phase quality parameters were monitored, and significant H2S concentrations were measured (with lower contents of CH4). Results evidenced that headspace temperature and ventilation played a key effect when analysing H2S and CH4 dynamics. Setups with a similar content of sulfide and chemical oxygen demand resulted in different H2S and CH4 headspace concentrations. It was also observed that an increase in ventilation resulted in a decrease of average headspace relative humidity of over 70%, with clear implications in corrosion potential estimates. Another interesting observation was that the wastewater drag induced by intermittent pumping, in absence of ingassing, originated pressure differences of up to 0.2 Pa m−1 between studied manholes. This differential originated a wave pattern of gas moving upstream and downstream, thus resulting in several gas peaks per pumping event, at the same sections. In addition, in confined setups, full mixing was not observed along the manholes.


H2CH4 Gaseous emissions Odour Sewer ventilation 



The authors acknowledge Águas do Tejo Atlântico and its Ericeira Department for the support during field work and data acquisition.

Funding information

This work was partly funded by Universidade de Lisboa through a PhD grant assigned to the first author.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CERIS, Civil Engineering Research and Innovation for Sustainability, Instituto Superior TécnicoUniversity of LisbonLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Águas do Tejo Atlântico, ETAR da EriceiraSanto IsidoroPortugal

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