(St.Joseph,MO) The hot, dry weather conditions might be keeping some people indoors, but it's bringing out a lot of smells along Parkway A.
Doug Mueller has been living on Parkway A for a little over a year and said the sewer smells are overwhelming.
"The sewer smell after it rains is awful. The smell is around all day, all the time,” Mueller said.
Public Works Director Andy Clements said there is a strong odor coming up from the sewers along Parkway A.
“What causes the generation of odor in this case is that you have a long diameter of sewer that has a very flat grate, because it is flat the untreated waste in that pipe starts to break down. When it starts to break down or decompose, the microbes that are doing that create and odor,”Clements said.
The odor problem isn’t anything new, the city has been working to alleviate the problem for years.
“This problem has been out there, when I talk to the older residents of the area, they talk about it being around in the 1960s," Clements said.
Donald Gilpin, superintendent of wastewater treatment, said the current system doesn’t fully remove the smell.
"The current system we are using is bioxide, commonly known as calcium nitrate. Calcium nitrate chemically tries to bond it, but it has not been effective,” Gilpin said.
The city plans to install an Echo Oxygenation System to combat the odor.
“It injects pure oxygen into the wastewater stream on the main that is pumping to the water protections facility.That prevents the wastewater from going anaerobic, which in turn produces hydrogen sulfide gas,” Gilpin said.
In addition to getting rid of the gas causing the rotten egg smell, the city would be saving money with the new treatment system.
The calcium nitrate treatment is costing the city approximately $250,000 a year to try to control the odor. The proposed oxygenation system is expected to cost $60,000 to $70,000 annually.
"It's considerably cheaper, our yearly cost is going to go down by about a fourth of what it is now,” Gilpin said.
The oxygenation treatment systems have been proven successful in cities like Raymore,Missouri, and produce immediate results.
“Within less than a week of starting it, it should make a huge difference,” Gilpin said.
Clements said the project should have great benefits for the people living in the area, but is anticipating the need for a second phase located further downstream.
“It’s got to in operation for several seasons so we can see what the influence of rain in the system is [as well as the] temperature and barometric pressure,” Clements said. “When we see that go through a full cycle then we will have a better sense of where the benefits of this projects are ending and where we need to address the next piece.”
The city began advertising for the project on July 29 and will continue accepting bids for the project through August 23.Clements said he hopes to approach the city council with a contract for approval in September and have the system in operation by March of 2019.