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Odor and incident response

Information about odor and air quality standards and the Air Quality Advisory Board at the Brightwater treatment plant.

Achieving Brightwater’s air quality standards remains a top priority for King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division. Since September 2011, when the treatment plant began operation, it has operated continuously without generating odors. Odor monitoring has confirmed that the plant is achieving the “no odor” standards agreed to in our permits.

Brightwater is establishing itself as a good neighbor, and air quality standards go beyond the public’s ability to detect nuisance odors. King County measures Brightwater’s air quality performance using equipment put in place to detect emissions of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, or H2S, which produces the unpleasant “rotten egg” smell typically associated with sewage.

Where to report

Please report odor concerns and sewer-related incidents right away to support timely investigation. 

  • 24-hour emergency and odor reporting: 
  • Brightwater Administration: 

Informational graphic illustrating the Brightwater odor control process

The diagram shows air going through 3 processes, then through a pipe and dispersed into the air. There are no odors past the property line.

Brightwater Air Quality Advisory Board

The Brightwater Air Quality Advisory Board was formed to advise the county on any corrective actions necessary to achieve our commitment to no detectable odors at the property boundary of the Brightwater treatment facilities or beyond.

The work and duties of the Board include:

  • Review odor monitoring data, and any complaints received, as described in the Brightwater Odor Monitoring and Response Plan
  • Review investigations of odor complaints, including corrective actions taken
  • If requested, provide recommendations for adjustment and improvements to the Brightwater odor control system