Case Study

Asphalt Plant Proactive About Being a Good Neighbor

Odor Challenge

When Tim Boone decided to tackle the odors from his asphalt plant, he remembered Ecosorb. A few years before, he had met the OMI Industries team at the World of Asphalt trade show in Baltimore and had kept a sample of Ecosorb odor removing spray on his desk. After sampling a few odor masking products (to mixed results), he decided to give Ecosorb a try.

“We tried some other products that were less expensive, and they did not give us what we wanted,” said Boone, president of the asphalt plant in Fairfax, Virginia. “It seemed like they were just masking agents.”

“And some of the products smelled worse than the actual asphalt odors,” he said.

The asphalt plant makes around 1,500-2,000 tons per day of hot mix asphalt for paving contractors and construction firms. They also recycle used and broken asphalt. When they built their first plant in 1964, they had no neighbors, or much of anything, nearby. Over the years, a park, condos, luxury homes, office buildings, and shopping centers have built up around them. Boone still hadn’t received many odor complaints from his new neighbors and wanted to keep it that way.

Asphalt plants in rural areas sit on rock quarries, far from residential and commercial development. By the time asphalt leaves these facilities, most odors from sulfides and hydrocarbons are gone. The need for odor removal is not as urgent as in urban locations, where neighboring homes and businesses can see plants as a nuisance.


Odors from asphalt vary depending on the location of the crude oil, how the crude oil was processed, and temperature used at that asphalt plant. Boone sent a sample of asphalt to OMI’s lab to find the most effective Ecosorb product for its unique odor combinations.

The asphalt was exposed to different Ecosorb blends, and the effect was measured using a human nose panel and gas detection. Ecosorb 1200A — an additive blend made specifically for the reduction of hydrogen sulfide, mercaptans, styrene, and general hydrocarbons in asphalt — was found to best remove odors.

A barrel of 1200A was sent to the asphalt plant and added to their hot mix tankers. The immediate reduction of odors was dramatic.

“We tried the product, and it’s amazing,” said Boone. “Because the odor is just gone.”


Aside from some odors from loading and unloading, asphalt odors have been fully neutralized.

“I’ve been out on customer jobs and watch them dump a load of asphalt into the paver and there’s absolutely no smell,” Boone adds. “Which is exactly what we were looking to accomplish.”

The asphalt plant now adds about 1 to 1.5 gallons of Ecosorb 1200A in each 6,000-gallon tanker and orders it by the barrel.

“We are completely satisfied with the product, and it’s doing extremely well for us,” said Boone.

Odors Controlled:
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Mercaptans
  • Styrene
  • Hydrocarbons
Products Used:
  • Ecosorb 1200A additive

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