Odor Control Strategy

Odor control is similar to any other air pollution control problem. Choosing a new material with less odor potential, changing the process, using an add-on pollution control system such as a scrubber or an afterburner, or raising the stack height all achieve community odor control. However, since odor is a community perception problem, the control strategies must be more flexible. When the tolerance level of a community changes, the odor control requirements also change. In addition, unique local topography and weather mean that each odor control problem usually requires its own study. An adopted control strategy for a similar problem at another place may not be suitable under different circumstances.

As far as control strategy is concerned, eliminating the odor-causing source is always better than using add-on control equipment because the equipment can become an odor source itself. For example, when a fume incinerator controls solvent odor, the incinerator, if not properly operated, can produce incomplete combustion by-products with a more offensive odor and lower odor threshold than the original odor. When multiple sources are involved, the control effort should be targeted to sources with higher odor emission rates, lower slopes of the dose-response function, and unpleasant odor characters.

Odor control techniques fall into the following categories:

Activated carbon adsorption

Adsorption with chemical reaction


Wet scrubbing



This section discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each technique. The details of each approach to pollution abatement are covered in other sections of this handbook.

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