Over the past month, I read about two Texas area water treatment workers, while working on a pump, were overcome by hydrogen sulfde exposure. One of the workers died and the other required hospitalization. This reminds us of how deadly hydrogen sulfide can become when working in wastewater.
Hydrogen sulfide forms when a collection system has soluble organics, anaerobic conditions, and the presence of sulfate. All of this happens to occur to a limited extent in gravity lines but can become critical in the confines of force mains. We often think of H2S gas a a nuisance due to it causing odor complaints at 1 - 10 ppm, monitoring areas where H2S forms in collection systems can also save lives by limiting potential worker exposure. Even at low levels long term H2S exposure can be a problem. OSHA has limits set at 10 ppm for workers.
How can H2S be controlled in the collection system? Keys methods are:
Erik Rumbaugh has been involved in biological waste treatment for over 20 years. He has worked with industrial and municipal wastewater facilities to ensure optimal performance of their treatment systems. He is a founder of Aster Bio (www.asterbio.com) specializing in biological waste treatment.
Click to set custom HTML