That horrible smell emanating from the wastewater treatment? It doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.
The issue came up at the April 6 Saline City Council meeting, as council approved a resolution to borrow $400,000 for phase two of the wastewater treatment plant construction project. Council also finished paying for phase one of the construction.
A couple members of council expressed frustration with phase one of the $4.5 million project. Councillor Dean Girbach noted the sludge release into the river in May of 2013. Councillor Jim Roth questioned why the first phase came in $27,000 over budget.
Councilor David Rhoads asked Tetra Tech engineer Brian Ruble if the second phase of the project will eliminate the odor issues that many residents have complained about. Ruble said Tetra Tech hasn’t be charged to study the odor issue.
Councillor Girbach noted the odor problem seemed to coincide with the first phase of construction. Ruble said there has been no work done that should have changed the odor produced by the plant.
Marl said he’s in favor of expending resources to address odor issues at the plant.
“Residents have made us aware, in very emphatic terms, of the profound (odor) issues of late,” Marl said.
Roth continued to press the Tetra Tech official, asking how much more work will be required on the plant after the second phase is complete.
“The plant is quite old and will clearly lead other improvements in the future,” Ruble said.
Roth expressed displeasure with the work so far. He said city council members toured the plant two years ago to learn about its deficiencies.
“It appears both phases didn’t address the issues we saw when we toured. The desire is to have an up-to-date, respectable facility for our city,” Roth said.
Marl disagreed with Roth’s assessment.
“With the completion of phase two, most of the issues will be rectified,” Marl said. “Certainly there are other issues that will need to be addressed.”
Council acquiesced to the request to pay $128,000 – the final payment for the $1.4 million first phase. Council also voted 6-0 to approve a resolution to borrow an additional $400,000 for the $3.3 million second phase. Council initially passed a resolution to borrow up to $3.2 million. While the city expects up to $300,000 in principle forgiveness for “green” initiatives, Treasurer Mickie Jo Bennett told council she doesn’t expect the city will need to borrow the $400,000. It’s a contingency in case labor and building costs come in higher than anticipated as the economy heats up.