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Odor control is something you need to be aware of. Facility management has a responsibility to keep teams safe and protect the public with proper odor treatment and mitigation. Learn about common forms of odor that may be affecting your facility, and discover how to control these.

Adhesives and Sealants

Adhesives and sealants should not cause the release of odors. They should be hardwearing and robust enough to remain in place and inert even long after their application. However, if these materials begin to break down, harmful odors may be released. Additionally, if adhesives and sealants are not properly stored, fumes can be released into the air.

How to control this?

Make sure that all adhesives and sealants are within their safe usage/expiration dates, and double-check to ensure that they are being used in the right way. Store adhesives and sealants in a secure and well-ventilated space to prevent the spread of harmful particles in the air.

HVAC Systems

HVAC systems circulate air around your space, and so these systems commonly spread odors or gases around your facility. This means the system could be what is propagating the odor into different areas of your facility, or it could be the root cause of the odor itself. Faulty condensate pumps within HVAC systems can directly cause odors.

How to control this?

If the odor is coming from your HVAC system itself, you may need a service or a replacement part. Replacing the condensate pump may prevent the odor.

Gas Leak

If you use gas within your facility, this needs to be handled and contained with care. Leaking gas can result in the following odors:

  • Methane – Natural gas smell, similar to household cooking gas
  • LPG – Cylinder gas smell, similar to that of barbecue gas
  • Fluorine – Ammonia or chlorinated pool water smell
  • Chlorine – Strong bleach smell
  • Freon – A wide range of different odors, including paint stripper, sweet scents and ammonia
  • Hydrogen sulfide – Rotten egg smell

Gas leaks like these and other forms of industrial gas can be serious hazards and should be met with a swift response. Check for gas leaks on a regular basis to accelerate this response.

How to control this?

Evacuate your facility immediately and shut off the gas supply. Once the initial leak has been contained, check and repair your gas system, and then test it to make sure it is functioning properly. Review your gas handling procedures to make sure this does not happen again.

Water Contamination

Well water can be contaminated via mineral deposits in the ground, such as iron and magnesium among others. This can create an odorous sludge that will clog pipework and damage machinery. Other contamination can come from the pipework itself, particularly if the system has become damaged.

How to control this?

Test the water in your facility to identify any particles that may be causing the odor. Perform an audit of the pipework and any other water sources to identify any points of contamination. Consider altering the microbe balance of your water tanks and other pieces of water system infrastructure, and conduct odor treatment to eliminate the harmful release of gases.

Animal Infestation

Animals such as skunks are well-known for producing bad odors, but other animal infestations can also cause issues at your facility. Decomposing animal carcasses, for example, can contaminate water supplies and ventilation ducts, spreading unpleasant smells around the facility.

How to control this?

Animal carcasses tend to give off an easily identifiable odor of decay and decomposition. If this is present at your facility, try to locate the carcass within your system. Review any potential access points and put fencing and other solutions in place to prevent further animal access. Engage the services of pest control experts if you think there is an ongoing problem. This is particularly important for large-scale rat or mouse infestations.

Septic System

Your septic system is designed to remove odors and keep spaces smelling fresh and clean. If there is an odor of sewage at your facility, this is a clear indication that the septic system is not doing its job properly. If your facility’s septic system is only used for removing human waste from your teams in the field, this may be a relatively easy fix. If you handle other forms and sources of matter, the septic system is likely to be more complex and the problem may be more difficult to remedy.

How to control this?

As noted above, sewage odors are most likely caused by a malfunctioning septic system. If elements such as P-traps are not properly aligned, sewage gases can back up in the system and cause an unpleasant odor, but this is easily fixed. Large-scale sewage leakages may occur if pipework becomes damaged or disconnected. In these instances, you may need to conduct a large-scale repair and update on your sewage system to implement proper industrial odor control.

Concrete

Concrete, once it has been set and installed, is generally considered an inert substance. As such, it may not be the first place you look when it comes to identifying and eliminating odors. However, a concrete floor or slab can be the source if it becomes wet or contaminated with another substance.

How to control this?

If you are experiencing an odor from your concrete materials, treat the concrete or apply a coat of sealant to prevent further release of odors. Concrete dust in the air may also cause an odor and can be a public health issue if this dust is allowed to build up. Make sure there is no structural damage to the concrete, and ensure that all unused concrete materials are properly and safely stored.

Burning Activity

If you are carrying out any burning activity at your facility, this can quickly cause odors to spread through your space and the local area. Depending on what you are burning, this could lead to an unpleasant environment in the best case and serious public health issues in the worst. The Clean Air Act has led to the imposition of strict air quality regulations in the United States, particularly with regard to businesses and industry, and so steps should be taken to remain compliant.

How to control this?

Only conduct burning activities in controlled areas, where the smoke and fumes can be effectively ventilated. Ensure that all smoke and fumes are captured by this ventilation system and are removed to a location where they can be neutralized. Test your ventilation system and make sure that everything is in full working order.

Bring Odor Under Control

Your facility may pay the price if you cannot bring industrial odor under control. You may lose staff and customers who are unhappy with the environment, and you may even end up being fined. Make odor control a priority at your facility.