Patented oxidation process to manage hydrogen sulfide shows promise in initial phases

November 17, 2015 – In September 2015, we launched a new pilot program using patented, catalyzed oxidation technology applied during treatment of wastewater to control hydrogen sulfide (H2S), a naturally occurring gas that results from biological degradation of residues derived from sugar beet processing.

Figure 1: Employees from SMBSC's environmental team measure H2S and collect water samples from pond.

Figure 1: Employees from SMBSC’s environmental team measure H2S and collect water samples from pond.

Our progressive wastewater management includes carefully monitoring the level of H2S that is present in holding ponds, which contain some of the organic waste material left over from sugar beet processing. Oxidation is one method used to control H2S, which can create odor issues if present in higher concentrations.

The technology converts H2S and oxidizes it to elemental sulfur using a proprietary catalyst, which is non-toxic, chemically inert, and, unlike H2S, is not a gas and not water-soluble. We have dedicated significant resources to proactively manage H2S over the past many years, and this pilot program is another step to ensure that SMBSC is continuously evaluating and testing new technologies that become available to quickly and efficiently control H2S.

Figure 2: Water samples collected from ponds are analyzed for H2S.

Figure 2: Water samples collected from ponds are analyzed for H2S.

Working with the approval of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, we determined that this process for oxidation, which applies hydrogen peroxide and catalyst through traditional irrigation, offered an improved system for SMBSC’s management program. Municipalities and industrial wastewater generators across the United States have begun to use the catalyzed oxidation technology because it works extremely fast and can target the sulfide more effectively.

Our initial and continued use of the technology show proven results, and we are engineering methods to deploy the technology on a full-scale basis. We have partnered with Hydrite Chemical Co., a leading provider of water treatment services in implementing this pilot program.