Pollution from a Wastewater Treatment Plant in Los Álamos, Chile

Summary of pilot

Los Álamos is located 700 km south of Chile's capital Santiago. The waste water treatment plant (WWTP) is located very close to residential areas that face odour problems for more than a decade.

The situation

The water utility has made investments in odour abatement systems and enhanced the operation of the WWTP, but still potentially impacts 1,000 residential houses, kindergarden and a school. Improvements were acknowledged in the past, but still some 300 homes are strongly impacted by odour emissions.

D-Noses role and aims

D-Noses selected this location due to prior odour studies conducted in the area. The WWTP operator aims to further reduce impacts of the facility but needs more specific information. Local stakeholders are being identified by active mapping strategies in the field. Early engagement focused on neighbourhood organizations. The research aims to identify odour episodes and emission patterns. Massive statistically valid information will be generated by regular scheduled observations, besides observations of odour episodes.

Progress so far

The Chilean pilot conducted at the town of Los Alamos completed a first phase of data collection end of April 2020. During the coronavirus pandemic, travel restrictions, curfews, and even lockdown measures are still in place, as incidence rates are higher than in most European countries. The data analysis results were presented on a local level to some stakeholders during June and august, but with limited assistance, therefore lacking dissemination to a brought public. Evaluation of treatment efficiencies of the installed odour abatement devices at the odour emitting facility is still undergoing and realized during three-monthly site visits. Still, two important phases of the D-Noses pilot still haven´t been initiated: Co-creation of actions and the presentation of final results are pending.

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