What are the best ways to deal with odour problems in food and dairy industries?

OdourPro on 28 August 2017

Many food and dairy processing plants experience increasing pressure to reduce odours from their facilities.

State authorities place strict requirements on the release of waste water and the potential for odour complaints in the downstream waste water network. In cases where trade waste water does not meet the specifications of the state authority, access to the wastewater network can be denied with massive consequences for production. The relevant Environment Protection Authorities (EPA) monitor odour emissions from the site itself and can enforce improvement notices and fines for non-compliance.

There is also an increasing community awareness of, and intolerance to, odours that impact on quality of life. Modern urban growth places houses in closer proximity to industrial areas, resulting increased complaints. Companies may suffer severe brand image losses due to environmental incidents.

Many technologies are available to assist food and dairy companies to overcome their odour issues.

In Brief



Organic filtering media treat waste gases

Treating ventilated air from livestock building or other point sources

Biotrickling filters

Inorganic filters, nutrient dosing and irrigation

Can remove higher levels of odours than biofiltration

Modular hybrid filter system

Carbon and organic filters

Can remove even higher levels of odour than biotrickling

Misting systems

Essential oils and organic plant compounds spray

Perimeter treatment when sources of odour are widely spread

Vapour systems

Active deodorisation technology

More effective perimeter treatment than misting for severe odour problems

Surface treatment

Reactants sprayed onto solid or liquid surfaces

Dairy waste water lagoons

Effluent water odour treatment

One of the most common sources of odour issues is the effluent water generated by food and dairy plants. Given the varied nature of food and dairy operations where water is used, contaminants can range from cleaning chemicals to organic compounds. Fortunately, waste water systems are clearly defined, and the odour problems can be treated at the source. Filtration systems are used to treat vapours that are released from defined sources.

biofiltration systems

Biofiltration is the equipment of choice when the concentration of odour producing components is not too high. Biotrickling is the next level up, where filtration is combined with nutrient spray to increase the effectiveness of odour removal. In severe cases, modular hybrid filter systems can be used. The combination of carbon and organic filters together with nutrient sprays ensures a high level of vapour scrubbing.

Note that effluent water can also be treated with chemicals in order to limit the amount of odour produced, which may reduce the need for vapour treatment. This is especially applicable to prevent H2S production.

We recommend getting professional advice to verify which is the right solution for your specific application.

Perimeter odour treatment

Food and dairy plants also produce odours from sources dispersed over the entire site, particularly where livestock is present. Dispersed sources of odour cannot be controlled through filtration. As such, misting and vapour systems can be used to neutralise the odour at the perimeter fence to eliminate impact on the surrounding community.

Misting systems can be permanent installations or portable, so that they can be moved to different areas as required. Odours are neutralised, not just masked, leading to effective odour management. When a more powerful treatment is needed, vapour systems can be deployed. The treatment stays airborne for longer than spray systems and is therefore more effective.

Surface treatment

Solid or liquid waste surfaces can produce odours. Effluent water lagoons, ponds, or reservoirs are typical examples.

Surface treatmentinvolves sealing the surface of the water with a treatment that reduces odour formation. Sometimes the treatment is added directly to the water itself.

Solid surfaces like animal waste or raw materials for food processing can also produce odours, which can be controlled through surface treatment in a similar manner.

Food and dairy odour control in practice

case studies ab mauri

AB Mauri, a large yeast production site, had a large wastewater treatment system that created unpleasant odours, causing community complaints from surrounding communities.

OdourPro installed a misting system on it's perimeter with a pre-programmed automating dosing of a neutralising agent. The authorities have been appeased and complaints have been eliminated by this fit-for-purpose solution.

Read more: AB Mauri Case Study

A cheese manufacturing plant in Canada took a different approach when they installed biotrickling filters to contain odour emissions from eleven identified sources on the plant. One year after the installation, the solution was working as per design and odour incidents remained an issue of the past.

Contact OdourPro for more information about odour control for food and dairy

We treat the odour problem at its biological or chemical cause for a solution that is successful and sustainable. Our technical experts and proven solutions can help your business overcome the challenges of managing odours.

Call our expert team on 1800 510 704 today to arrange a consultation to help you resolve your odour control issues.