Models for Improving Management of Biosolids Odors

  • Steven A. Gabriel
  • Sirapong Vilalai
  • Prawat Sahakij
  • Mark Ramirez
  • Chris Peot
Part of the International Series in Operations Research & Management Science book series (ISOR, volume 138)


We describe recent modeling efforts to identify the factors that lead to high biosolids odor levels associated with advanced wastewater treatment plants (AWTP). These factors can be broken down into two groups: (i) those that are beyond the control of the AWTP such as ambient temperature, (ii) those that are controllable such as the number of centrifuges in operation, the amount of lime used, etc.We summarize our findings relative to different statistical models we developed that predict biosolids odor levels based on either subjective or analytic measurements from the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Author (DCWASA). These models take into account a host of factors to predict biosolids odor levels and are then used to generate a relevant probability distribution for odor levels using Monte Carlo simulation. Such probability distributions will guide AWTP managers relative to where to send the biosolids products taking into account the likelihood of high levels and thus indirectly, possible complaints from those living or working near the reuse sites. We also describe our recent efforts in also optimizing the operations of the AWTP and distribution network to balance both biosolids odors and costs. The resulting multiobjective optimization models are computationally challenging due to their size and non-convexities and we discuss some of the salient features as well as representative results. We extend this discussion by noting how to handle stochasticity directly into such optimization models.


Improve Management Lime Addition Pareto Optimal Point Odor Score Odor Data 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. [1]
    Aripse, S. C., (2005). “Measuring and developing a control strategy for odorous gases from solids handling processes of a large wastewater treatment plant.” MS thesis, University of Maryland, College Park, MD.Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    Beale, E.M.L., and Forrest, J.J.H. (1976). “Global optimization using special ordered sets.” Mathematical Programming, 10, 52–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. [3]
    Beale, E.M.L., and Tomlin, J.A. (1970). “Special facilities in a general mathematical programming system for non-convex problems using ordered sets of variables.” Proc., Fifth IFORS Conference, Tavistock, London, 447–454.Google Scholar
  4. [4]
    Birge, J.R., and Louveaux, L. (1997). Introduction to Stochastic Programming, Springer, NY.Google Scholar
  5. [5]
    Clemen, R. T., and Reilly, T. (2001). Making hard decisions with Decision-Tools, Duxbury, CA.Google Scholar
  6. [6]
    Cohon, J.L. (1978). Multiobjective Programming and Planning, Dover Publications, Inc., NY.Google Scholar
  7. [7]
    Dantzig, G.B. (1998). Linear programming and extensions, Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ.Google Scholar
  8. [8]
    Dantzig, G.B., and Wolfe, P. (1960). “Decomposition principle for linear programs.” Operations Research, 8(1), 101–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. [9]
    D'Amato, R. M., II, and DeHollander, G. R. (1999). “Gaseous emissions from wastewater facilities.” Water Envir Research, 71(5), 715–720.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. [10]
    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (1994). “Biosolids recycling: beneficial technology for a better environment.” Rep. No. EPA 832/R-94-009, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  11. [11]
    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (1994). “Plain English guide to the EPA part 503 biosolids rule.” Rep. No. EPA/832/R-93/003, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Wastewater Mgmt, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  12. [12]
    Escudero, L. (1978). “A comparative analysis of linear fitting for non-linear functions on optimization, a case study: air pollution problems.” European Journal of Operational Research, 2, 398–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. [13]
    Federal Register (1993). “Standards for the use or disposal of sewage sludge: final rules.” Federal Register, 58(32), 9248–9415.Google Scholar
  14. [14]
    Gabriel, S.A., Bertrand, R.G., and Sahakij, P. (2006). “A practical approach to approximate bilinear functions in mathematical programming problems by using Schurs decomposition and SOS type 2 variables.” Journal of the Operational Research Society, 57, 995–1004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. [15]
    Gabriel, S.A., Sahakij, P., and Ramirez, M. (2007). “A multiobjective optimization model for processing and distributing biosolids to reuse fields.” Journal of the Operational Research Society, 58, 850–864.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. [16]
    Gabriel, S.A., Vilalai, S., Aprise, S., Kim, H., McConnell, L.L., Torrents, Peot, C., and Ramirez, M. (2005). “Prediction of Dimethyl Disulfide Levels from Biosolids Using Statistical Modeling” Journal of Environmental Science and Health, 40, 2009–2025.Google Scholar
  17. [17]
    Gabriel, S.A., Vilalai, S., Peot, C., and Ramirez, M. (2005). “Statistical modeling to forecast odor levels of biosolids applied to reuse sites.” Journal of Environmental Engineering, 132 (5), 479–488.Google Scholar
  18. [18]
    Horn, R.A., and Johnson, C.R. (1985). Matrix Analysis, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.Google Scholar
  19. [19]
    Kim, H., Murthy, S. N., McConnell, L., Peot, C., Ramirez, M., and Strawn, M. (2001). “Examination of mechanisms for odor compound generation during lime stabilization.” Proc., WEFTEC 200, Atlanta, GA.Google Scholar
  20. [20]
    Kim, H., Murthy, S., McConnell, L., Peot, C., Ramirez, M., and Strawn, M. (2002). “Characterization of wastewater and solids odors using solid phase microextraction at a large wastewater treatment plant.” Water Sci and Tech, 46(10), 9–16.Google Scholar
  21. [21]
    Kutner, MH., Nachtsheim, C., Neter, J., and Li, W. (2005). Applied Linear Statistical Models, McGraw-Hill/Irwin 5th edition.Google Scholar
  22. [22]
    McGinley, C. M., and McGinley, M. A. (2002). “Odor Testing Biosolids for Decision Making”, Proc., WEF Specialty Conference,Austin, TX,Google Scholar
  23. [23]
    McGinley, M. A., McGinley, C. M., Mann J., (2000). “Olfactomatics: Applied Mathematics For Odor Testing”, WEF Odor / VOC 2000 Specialty Conference, Cincinnati, OH, 16–19 April 2000.Google Scholar
  24. [24]
    Mosier, A. R., Morrison, S. M., and Elmond G. K. (1977). “Odors and emissions from organic wastes.” Soil for Management of Organic Waste and Waste Waters, Soil Science Society of America, Madison, WI, 532–569.Google Scholar
  25. [25]
    Murthy, S. N., Sadick, T., Baily, W., Peot, C., Tolbert, D., and Strawn, M. (2001). “Mitigation of Odors from Lime Stabilized Biosolids.” Proc., WEF Residuals and Biosolids Management Conference, San Diego, CA.Google Scholar
  26. [26]
    Murthy, S., Kim, H., McConnell, L., Peot, C., Bailey, W., Novak, J., and Glindemann, D. (2002). “Mechanisms for odour generation during lime stabilization.” Proc., IWA Biennial Conference, Melbourne, Australia.Google Scholar
  27. [27]
    Novak, J., Glindemann, D., Murthy, S. N., Gerwin, S. C., and Peot, C. (2002). “Mechanisms for generation and control of trimethyl amine and dimethyl disulfide from lime stabilized biosolids.” Proc., WEF Odor Conference, Albuquerque, NM.Google Scholar
  28. [28]
    Oleszkiewicz, J. A., and Mavinic, D. S. (2002). “Wastewater biosolids: an overview of processing, treatment, and management.” J of Envir Engrg Sci, 1, 75–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. [29]
    Palisade Corporation, (2001). Guide to Using @Risk: Risk Analysis and Simulation Add-In for Microsoft Excel, Palisade Corporation, NY.Google Scholar
  30. [30]
    Puterman, M.L. (1994). Markov Decision Processes Discrete Stochastic Dynamic Programming, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., NY.Google Scholar
  31. [31]
    ReVelle, C., and McGarity, A. E. (eds) (1997). Design and Operation of Civil and Environmental Engineering Systems, John Wiley & Sons, NY.Google Scholar
  32. [32]
    Rosenfeld, P. E. (1999). “Characterization, quantification, and control of odor emissions from biosolids applications to forest soil.” PhD thesis, University of Washington, WA.Google Scholar
  33. [33]
    Sahakij, P. (2008). “Multiobjective optimization models for distributing biosolids to reuse fields.” Ph.D. Thesis, University of Maryland, College Park, MD.Google Scholar
  34. [34]
    Sahakij P., Gabriel, S.A., Ramirez, M., and Peot C. (2007). “A multi-objective optimisation model for processing and distributing biosolids to reuse fields.” Proc., 12 th European biosolids and organic resources conference, Aqua Enviro, Wakefield, UK.Google Scholar
  35. [35]
    Sahakij, P., Gabriel, S.A., Ramirez, M., and Peot, C. (2008). “Multi-objective Optimization Models for Distributing Biosolids to Reuse Fields: A Case Study for the Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant” December 2007, Networks and Spatial Economics, published online.Google Scholar
  36. [36]
    Sostrand, P., Tvedt, B., Eduard, W., Bye, E. and Heldal, K. (2000). “Hazardous peak concentrations of hydrogen sulfide gas related to the sewage purification process.” Amer Ind Hyg Assoc J, 61(1), 107–110.Google Scholar
  37. [37]
    Vilalai, S., (2003). “Forecasting odor levels for biosolids product based on ambient conditions” MS thesis, University of Maryland, College Park, MD.Google Scholar
  38. [38]
    Vilalai, S., Gabriel, S.A., Peot, C., and Ramirez, M. (2007). “Biosolids odor prediction models: sensory and analytical measurement approaches” Proc., 12 th European biosolids and organic resources conference, Aqua Enviro, Wakefield, UK.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven A. Gabriel
    • 1
  • Sirapong Vilalai
    • 1
  • Prawat Sahakij
    • 1
  • Mark Ramirez
    • 2
  • Chris Peot
    • 2
  1. 1.University of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.District of Columbia Water and Sewer AuthorityWashingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations