In The Air Tonight: Wastewater Treatment Plant Odor Thread

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In The Air Tonight: Wastewater Treatment Plant Odor Thread

We live at the corner of Lewis and Bennett in the City of Saline. We can smell the plant on a nearly daily basis. I've smelled it downtown and as far away as Busch's and even Saline High School on one occasion.

We moved here in September. Has it gotten worse lately? Or has the faint smell of the wastewater treatment plant always wafted around town? It sure makes one feel more for the residents east of the plant on the south end of town.

Feel free to use this topic to report the odor issue or discuss (with civility) the issue.

Odor and Chemistry

The odors from the Saline wastewater treatment plant has been an ongoing issue.  If you search 'wastewater' in The Saline Post, they have covered this topic fairly well over the past few years.  The City has spent millions of dollars trying to remedy the problem.  In addition to the millions spent that have not fixed the problem, they have spent many tens or perhaps even hundreds of thousands of dollars on studies.  One report stated that they paid $98,000 to Webster Environmental Associates.

There are many ways to treat wastewater odors.  There are covers, scrubbers, chemicals, etc.  Most recently, the City has focused on Odor Scrubbers to remedy the situation.  Webster Environmental Associates suggested that the problem was a 20 year old odor scrubber, suggested a 2 Million dollar fix with an annual cost of around $120,000 including the cost of maintenance and chemicals.

Odors are primarily an issue of CHEMISTRY. Various biological and chemical make-up will emit odors.  The City suggested that the more recent odor problem may be from industrial waste.  The cheapest way to control these chemicals and waste is at their source.  If industrial emitters are potentially the problem as the City stated, then why are we not testing wastewater AT THE SOURCE?   If chemical make-up causes odor, then why do we not have a chemist on staff, or at minimum regular testing at the treatment facility, and at the source (testing wastewater in the various industrial facilities in and around Saline)??

If the wastewater was tested at the source and the city knew definitively who the chemical emitters are, then the burden of the costs associated with wastewater  treatment could be placed on the company or companies that are causing the problem.  In addition, if the city knew who was causing the problem, then perhaps the residents whose lives and property values have been affected would have some legal recourse.

If the city is unable to remedy this problem, I would suggest giving a challenge to the U of M and EMU Chemical Engineering departments graduate students.  Whomever can identify the problem and come up with an appropriate solution would obtain a small grant for their research projects.

In the mean time, TESTING is a very important part of a solution to the problem.


 Blah blah blah

yep 20 year old scrubbers! So the stench it appears goes back to several mayors who it appears did nothing for the stench back then and this one decided it appears to do a last minute oops I better do something quick! But instead we worried about Street scapes, trees, flowers and the US12 adding many more street lights etc! 



Great post.

Great post.

According to Bob Scull, there

According to Bob Scull, there were just two odor complaints to the city since the last council meeting Nov. 20.

It was kind of sad to smell that thing fuming before the Christmas Parade, with thousands of people downtown. Fortunately, Benito's Pizza was the aromatic champion of the night.

This was "the" topic last Friday

Mayor Marl made this the special focus of his last Coffee Hour on December 1 at Matty J's.

Specific to your Bob Scull report, Saline government personnel at the meeting last Friday seemed to indicate that "complaint" numbers do not reflect the magnitude of resident concern. People are either feeling like they've said what they have to say and can't get any further with calling in, or worse.

One thing that The Saline Post might be able to get ahold of was an "Oder Study" chart they showed there at Matty J's. It showed irregularly drawn shapes around the WWTP, indicating areas impacted; shapes were dictated by both topographical and weather patterns. Each broader area circumscribed, if I'm remembering correctly, was by some order either less or less likely to be impacted.

Key metric?

"According to Bob Scull, there were just two odor complaints to the city since the last council meeting Nov. 20."

I really hope this is not a key metric the city is now using to evaluate the severity or priority of the odor issue. The odor lingering around downtown during the Christmas parade was unfortunate and embarrassing.



I'm not even sure why they bother asking for that number each week.

It's about 50/50 whether I walk out my front door and smell the plant at Bennett and Lewis.

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