Odor Control in Portable Toilets


Portable toilet and pumper companies were facing increasing resistance and escalating regulations from operators of wastewater treatment facilities concerning the composition of chemicals being pumped into the systems from the tanks of the pumping trucks. Companies using formaldehyde, or formaldehyde-based odor control products were the main target. Many products being used would create two major problems for the treatment facilities. The introduction of many of the toxic products into the treatment system would cause “biological kills” of the bacteria being used to degrade the solid waste and control BOD in the facility. These toxic products in the effluent would also create unacceptable water release problems for the facilities. Also attributing to the need to find an alternative product was the fact that most of the products on the market were hazardous to handle, and in some cases, actually fatal if ingested, even in very small quantities. The companies were faced with a two-fold problem. First, they had to have a safe, effective product to control the odors in the portable units. Second, they had to find a product that would be readily accepted by the operators of the wastewater treatment facilities. Most companies had tried natural products that would be acceptable at the treatment facilities, but found the products to be ineffective in controlling the odors in the portable units.


At the request of a manager of a Waste Management facility, Organic Products Company formulated an odor control product using the Histosol OP-9840 as the substrate. The initial field tests were conducted with the assistance of Waste Management. The tests were conducted in southeast Georgia in the month of July. Average daily temperatures ranged 90 to 96 degree F. The relative humidity was consistently above 90% during the test period. The product was found to be extremely effective in controlling odors emitted by the portable units. With a system charge of one ounce of the Organic-Pro Port-a-Clean product, one heavily used test unit was not pumped for 14 days. No offensive odors were ever present in the unit. The unit eventually had to be pumped and cleaned because it had reach volume capacity and near overflowing levels.

This unique and innovative product is the first of its type. The product is not a masking agent that simply covers up unpleasant odors, particularly hydrogen sulfide odors. It actually reduces the effluent’s ability to produce the odors.

After several formulation modifications to adhere to specific client needs such as dye and fragrance additions, marketing of the product in a variety of formulations was initiated. Within a period of two weeks, the product was being sold in 16 states throughout the U.S. Customer feedback was very positive. Testimonials provided support and proof of the product’s effectiveness. The product is not only accepted by all wastewater treatment facilities, but it also provides a residual benefit to the effluent at the treatment plants by helping to control hydrogen sulfide odors and corrosion along with contributing to a measurable reduction in TSS and BOD at the plant.


Organic Products Company was able to utilize the same technology that had made the Histosol OP-9840 so effective in controlling hydrogen sulfide in industrial and municipal applications to solve the problems confronting portable toilet companies. The product is environmentally friendly. It will not harm human, animal, or marine life when used as directed. The product is extremely effective in controlling offensive odors emitted by portable toilets. Discharge of effluent from pumping trucks is welcomed by waste collection facilities. This product conclusively solved all the problems associated with the use of toxic chemicals in the treatment of portable toilets.

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