Saline Hones In On Wastewater Plant Fix

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By Angelo Parlove,

At a work meeting last week, Saline city council came to a consensus on a path for the city to resolve the ongoing odor issues at its wastewater treatment plant.

Based on the final odor study report by Webster Environmental Associates, an engineering consulting firm from Louisville, Kentucky, the city is gearing up for a $2.89 million project to implement a carbon system and bioscrubber at the wastewater facility, which would remove 99 percent of odors.

Jim Ross, a project manager at Webster, presented the final odor study report and the aforementioned recommendation to city council at the work meeting Aug. 28.

“I think the report was very thorough, and I think this is the right course of action,” said Bob Scull, the wastewater treatment plant superintendent.

The Webster recommendation for the carbon system and bioscrubber was based on air and liquid sampling in December 2016 and July 2017. After the cool weather sampling last December, Webster initially suggested the city construct a dual media carbon adsorption system at the wastewater facility. However, the recent data collected in the warmer and drier conditions in July altered that recommendation.

“I am glad we waited for the second round of sampling because that has really determined which direction,” Scull added.

At the wastewater treatment plant, the suggested $2.89 million project will include the demolition of the existing chemical scrubbers, the installation of the carbon adsorber to treat air from the RBCs and septage receiving building, as well as the installation of the bioscrubber to treat the remaining significant odor sources.

“Pungent and frequent odors have been an issue in this community for a number of decades,” Mayor Brian Marl said. “The frequency and severity of odors permeating from our wastewater treatment plant of late are unacceptable and have a adverse impact on our citizens quality of life.”

To fund the project, the city is pursuing both a low-interest, state revolving fund (SRF) loan from the State of Michigan as well as an alternate financing option that would see the city borrow up to $4 million. If approved by the state, the SRF would include a principal forgiveness grant of $50,000.

Currently, the city’s SRF application is highly ranked in the fundable range, said Brian Rubel, a consulting engineer from Tetra Tech (Ann Arbor), who is advising the city on the SRF loan process. “We’re very glad about that,” Rubel added.

As for the estimated timeline for the wastewater treatment plant improvements, the project will probably not be completed until April 2019.

The design process is expected to take four months (Sept – Dec 2017), followed by two months of permitting (Jan – Feb 2018), advertising and awarding contracts (March – April 2018) and 12 months of actual construction (April 2018 – April 2019).

“I apologize again for recent odors that have affected this community,” Marl further said. “I also regret in the past the city often over-promised and under-delivered as it related to controlling offensive odors.”

City council is expected to take further action on the matter at its first meeting in September.

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Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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