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Community Update for July 17, 2013

With summer's warm weather, it's always a good time to revisit the challenges it poses for wastewater treatment plants.The Bay Area experienced some unusually warm, calm days in June which are wonderful for enjoying the outdoors, but these conditions historically exacerbate odor issues, including alerts for brief, periodic elevated levels of H2S.

Effective H2S monitoring is an important part of our odor management program.We take odor monitoring, prevention and mitigation very seriously and are committed to effective odor management.The safety of our employees in Richmond and nearby residents and environmental stewardship are our highest priorities.

As background, the existing H2S monitoring network was installed by the City of Richmond and intended to detect H2S emissions from any potential source.An investigative response is initiated by Veolia staff when H2S levels exceed 30 parts per billion (ppb) at either the plant's north or south fence line monitors or the Brickyard Cove H2S monitor.

This 30 ppb level is set as a precautionary response point and is one-half of the treatment plant's BAAQMD-issued permit (set at an average of 60 ppb). For context, BAAQMD uses an outdoor air quality standard of 30 ppb averaged over one hour as the Ambient Air Quality Standard for H2S in the Bay Area. 

As part of our operations protocol established with the City and regulators, Veolia staff responds to alerts which are issued from the north fence, south fence or Brickyard Cove H2S monitors.When the 30 ppb level is met or exceeded, an alert is sent via e-mail and phone calls are generated notifying appropriate Veolia personnel to investigate the plant site.

Comprehensive odor monitoring and control are central to our operations, which is illustrated by the actions we've taken over the last year and continue to implement in an effort to serve the community as a good neighbor.

As always, if residents experience strong odors, they are encouraged to call the odor report line at (510) 412-2001.

Aaron Winer, project manager, Veolia Water
Russ Clifton, assistant project manager, Veolia Water 

Links for more information about H2S:
There is an abundance of information available on Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) and we make several fact sheets available on our website at