Odor abatement work is beginning at Saline the wastewater treatment plant as the plant superintendent acknowledged odors emanating from the facility have never been worse. There are plans to examine if industrial waste might be causing the problem.
“It’s been worse the last few weeks,” Superintendent Bob Scull told council. “It’s probably the worst I can remember it being.”
Sculls comments came while he was updating council on the plant, which neighbors have been complaining about for years. The problem worsened in 2014 and 2015, during a major construction project at the facility. After an odor study revealed malfunctioning odor scrubbers, City Council approved a plan to borrow $4 million to address the issue.
Scull told City Council Monday that odor abatement work has begun. City staff have picked out the new scrubbers. Soil borings are being done. Excavators and surveyors will be on site soon.
“Things are proceeding. Probably not fast enough for everyone,” Scull acknowledged.
Councillor Dean Girbach mentioned the odor was strong again, prompting Scull’s comments.
“Something has changed with the influent. We’re having a study done in November that will hopefully give us guidance,” Scull said.
Answering a question from Councillor Janet Dillon, Scull said the warm weather probably contributed to the odor issue.
“We are also looking at if there is anything in the waste stream that is causing it, because it is worse. It is the worst I can remember it being,” Scull said.
Council Christen Mitchell questioned Scull about the study of the influent. The study is being paid by a SAW grant the city received.
A headworks load study that was set to begin later has been pushed up to November because of the worsening odor.
Scull said the study will measure what comes in the plant and what the plant is designed to remove.
“So, we can set limits on customers, mainly the industrial customers, and what they’re allowed to discharge. I’ve had the study moved up because of the increased odors, hoping to get some insight as to what’s going on,” Scull told council.
Councillor Janet Dillon said that she prays that she doesn’t get stopped at the light at Michigan and Monroe because the odor is so strong. She said she feels for the people living near the plant.
“The odor problem seems to be perpetual. I can’t imagine living this way for two more years,” Dillon said.
The odor abatement project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2019.