That foul smell emanating from Saline’s wastewater treatment plant might be eliminated by work already being done at the facility. That’s what city officials hope. Because if the odors persist after completion of phase two of the $4.5 million improvement project, the city may have an expensive problem on its hands.
Bob Scull, superintendent of water and wastewater for the city, appeared before council Monday to address an issue that has become more pronounced over the last 12 months.
“It seems to be a perpetual issue. There’s substantial work being done and hopefully it will mitigate some of these issues,” Scull said
Scull said phase two of the wastewater treatment plant includes “tightening scrubbers” and a new carbon filter which will be installed in February.
“I can’t stand here and say there won’t ever be any odors, but my hope is that after phase two the plant will run more efficiently and with less odor,” Scull said.
If not, the city will face a potentially expensive problem. According to Scull, TetraTech officials have told him a study of the problem would cost $40,000 to $100,000. A solution to the problem could cost $1 to $3 million.
Scull said it was a lot to invest in the plant – especially if development west of the city requires expansion of the plant or a new plant.
Scull said his staff has taken several relatively inexpensive steps to help improve the situation, including the planting of trees to act as a screen and windbreaker between the plant and nearby homeowners.
Answering a question from Councilor Dean Girbach, Scull said it was very difficult to track down the origins of hard-to-treat substances that might overly tax the system and cause problems.
Scull encouraged residents to contact him or city manager Todd Campbell when they detected an issue. He asked for people to take note of weather conditions and report those as well.
Mayor Brian Marl echoed Scull’s request. He encouraged Scull and his staff to continue making small steps until phase two is completed.
“I’m glad to see city staff is taking this issue seriously and wants to the see the problem resolved,” Marl said.