City Council to Hear WWTP Odor Report, Consider Plans for Capacity Expansion

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 09/09/2019 - 02:57
The waste water treatment plant is pictured on Aug. 19, 2019.

Sometimes, reality stinks.

Weeks ago, City of Saline officials decided to meet Sept. 9 to review data collected during testing after completion of the wastewater treatment plant odor abatement project. Officials were under the impression that the project was a success.

Last week, as agenda packets detailing the project’s success were posted, city residents detecting and complaining about odor emanating from the plant. And not just from residents living a stone’s throw from the plant. Residents reported the odor downtown, as far north as Woodland Meadows, and as far east as Old Creek Drive.

City officials urged residents to report odor issues on the See Click Fix app. Councillor Christen Mitchell commiserated with residents, saying the odor is unacceptable. Mitchell said that while the project is complete, there are adjustments being made, and there are other repairs taking place that may cause odor.

The $3.9 million removed the malfunctioning odor scrubbers, installed new carb adsorbers, a new bioscrubber and a biolfilter unit.

Webster standard performed tests for hydrogen sulfide (determined by acrulog instrument), and total odor (determined by a panel of judges). The tests showed the hydrogen sulfide removal was better than promised the project’s specifications. 100 percent was removed at the southside pumping station, 99.9 to 100 percent was removed from the wastewater treatment plant’s carbon scrubber, and 99.4 percent was removed from the plant’s bioscrubber. The bioscrubber project also exceeded standards for “total odor removal,” according to the report.

According to a Sept. 4 memo to City Manager Todd Campbell from Steve Wyzgoski, who manages the water and wastewater plants, there are some rotating biological contactors that aren’t operation, and it appears some mechanical and electrical work will be necessary. In the memo, Wyzgoski said wastewater treatment plant staff had adjusted airflows and solids levels in an attempt to mitigate odor complaints made by residents of nearby Circle Court.

Council will discuss the report at a work meeting beginning at 6 p.m.

The discussion will put a point on a subsequent discussion on a proposal to pay $58,000 to Tetra Tech for a wastewater treatment plant siting study. The city had previously issued a request for proposals to evaluate three approaches: expansion of the existing plant, connection to a regional plant, or construction of a new plant.

According to the most recent study of the city’s wastewater treatment capacity, the city has enough capacity to meet most current needs – except sludge storage. There is limited capacity to increase capacity at the existing site.

Why does the city need more wastewater treatment capacity? That’s a question council will wrestle with in the near future.

Growth is coming west of the city’s current borders. As of today, the city doesn’t have the infrastructure to provide wastewater treatment to Andelina Farms, a residential development planned for Saline Township – in an area the both communities’ master plans designate for annexation into the city.

The city also is challenging the developer’s plans to dump treatment plant effluent on to an unnamed tributary of the Saline River near Huntington Woods Phase III in the city limits. Mayor Brian Marl has directed legal staff to study ways the city can challenge the state permit.

The city also has concerns with plans for a private wastewater treatment plant just west of the city limits. Many residents will live just downwind of the plant.

If the city is unable to provide utilities, it will next to no control over the construction and development of  Andelina Farms and adjacent parcels.

The state permit for the Andelina Farms wastewater treatment plan stipulates the development must be built in such a way that it, and potential neighboring development, can one day tie into city infrastructure should it become available.


Tran Longmoore's picture
Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is a veteran community journalist. He is founder and owner of He is co-publisher of The Saline Post weekly newspaper. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 734-272-6294.

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