City Seeks Answers As Wastewater Treatment Plant Odors Worsen

 10/27/2017 - 16:58

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.

Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is owner of The Saline Post. Email him at or call him at 734-272-6294

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Bonnie's picture

Let me just say that Bob Scull told my friend who was here that he couldn't smell sewage stench in my yard when we could. He also said he wasn't a good person to ask because he'd been working there for years and really couldn't smell it! Haha. Then there is Mark who works there that doesn't smell it either! Yes it's bad yes it's worse and beyond exceptable anymore.

It appears Brian Marl you have turned your back your backfirst term just like all the past mayors and many council people.  because I was the only one complaining. Now all of a sudden the whole community is complaining and it appears you says oops I better do something to pacify the people? 

I asked for lower taxes because of a non use of my property because of sewage stench I was turned down!  I haven't been able to be in my yard enjoy fresh air for the last two years and beyond! I haven't been able to have my windows open for the last two summers! Even in the winter it's beyond horrible!it appears You Todd Campbell Bob Scull have all ignored my complaints. Even came here and all three of you stood laughing on the south side of my garage! Many nights I

Even when there was a sewage back up because of a city clogged drain at the beginning of circle ct the city refused to pay for the cleanup of our basements! My neighbor and I both asked the city to pay for it nope they would not!  I had to turn in a complaint to Hartman Insurance and the sewage cleanup was just shy of five thousand dollars for something that was city caused! Yep then your rates go up and I'm forced to pay more for my insurance. Thank you city of Saline! 

Many night the stench is so bad it comes into my home. This is NOT exceptable either!  Do you care city manager Todd Campbell? Do you care Brian Marl? You all sit in your nice yards enjoy family get togethers have friends over for a barbecue  and Not be embarrassed of where you live.  

Realestate One realtor and the people that sold all knew about the sewage stench. My neighbor recently sold their home through Real Estate One.  Your right the realtor new it.  He nor the people selling put the sewage stench in their disclose so the poor people that bought the house now deal with sewage stench! 

I cant be that dishonest to anybody. My home isn't worth anything nor anyone else's yet the city refuses to do anything about our taxes except raise them !! so I sit on a worthless piece of property. 

The only thing this council, mayor and manager want is your vote and all they care about is the pretty things!  Yep they will raise your water bill to pay for the stench because all our tax payers money has been spent on pretty! You can have all the coffee hours you want Brian but it appears you continue to ignore the REAL PROBLEMS!

i would never vote for you or anyone on this present council as long as I live! Dean Girbach has known about this shit factory problem for years and the answer I got from him years ago was well Bonnie you bought that house! Well Dean you bought a house on S. Ann Arbor St at Crestwood so you too get to enjoy the sewage stench I am beyond thrilled for you! I'd ask for everyone's resignation and bring back Mary Hess, Rick Kuss, Mike Gudith the man that  brought  Christmas to the city of Saline but had to shut his lights down because their are way to many nasty people on this council! 

So Gary Rubal I caught you running a stop sign at Henry and Harris street in a city car. I followed you to your home and you acted like you didn't know it ha ha! 

im up because I can't sleep walked outside and YES THERE IS SEWAGE STENCH! 

 I now move in the direction I didn't want to...

Sandy's picture

The odor is just getting worse and worse. I’m glad it’s going further now so more people understand what we in the Crestwood sub have had to deal with for years.  Until this began happening we weren’t being taken seriously.  Our city is such a wonderful place to live.  We deserve better than this

Bonnie's picture

Thank you Sandy! You are so right we ALL deserve better than this and have for years! A so called study starts in November and completion in 2019 is NOT EXCEPTABLE!