August 27, 2009 at 7:49 a.m.

Still a couple of hurdles to clear in odor abatement plan for joint sewer system being enacted

Still a couple of hurdles to clear in odor abatement plan for joint sewer system being enacted
Still a couple of hurdles to clear in odor abatement plan for joint sewer system being enacted

As with most science-based efforts there's a process of trial and error before finding success. The Chisago Lakes Joint Sewage Treatment Commission has been trying various methods to make offensive odors at locations along its sewerline disappear, and it seems the commission has developed an approach to system odor relief.

Residents have been complaining about odor at specific points on the sewer system. Complaints come to Chisago City officials because the odors emanate from lift stations in Chisago City; but the sewage at the root of the issue is generated by Wyoming and Chisago City. (See map.)

Odor strength is due to the length of time the sewer product takes to travel through any section of underground line. At the lift stations the odors are released and the public complains.

The trick for the commission has been to pinpoint the most cost-effective method to kill the sulphurous odor, and figure out how to fairly spread costs of the remedy.

Over these ripe days of summer the CLJSTC hasn't just ignored the complaints, however.

The commission has used a chemical to abate the worst odors. The gallons needed, though, are proving to be cost-prohibitive. Other methods of odor eaters (ie: carbon filters, bio filtration) were also evaluated. The use of a bio-filter came out on top as the preferred long term solution. The city of Lindstrom has used a bio-filter, on the sewer line south of town, to diminish odors for years.

Public infrastructure, however, is never a simple thing.

The commission recently learned that county road right-of-way along #22 and #36, where one offending lift station sits, can not be used to build an equipment shack. The CLJSTC voted last week to authorize staff to work with adjacent landowners to see if additional land can be bought for a structure.

This is where commission consensus starts to break down. Wyoming City officials don't like hearing about this added expense.

Wyoming Mayor Sheldon Anderson joked last week at the council meeting about the "little house" the commission members now desire. He said this odor study has taken way too long, adding that Wyoming council already voted on supporting a carbon filtration solution. Anderson declared there's no way Wyoming will tolerate additional bills for buying land or a "little house."

(Chisago City was scheduled to meet this week and any action by that city council on the bio-filter approach and cost sharing for small buildings will in this paper the following week.)

Wyoming City Council member Russ Goudge represents the city, with Joe Zerwas, on the CLJSTC.

He said he'll advocate for whatever the full Wyoming council directs him to. At the council meeting Goudge tried to explain that the costs for carbon filtration (Wyoming's earlier resolution) increase vastly over the long term, while bio-filter up-front costs are greater, but decrease over time compared to carbon. Goudge said he will continue to work with the commission members as a whole on how much Wyoming and/or Chisago City taxpayers will be expected to cover. The commission has discussed this with only some members present. Members seem agreeable at this time to help underwrite costs to the point where Wyoming's expenditure won't be more than what the city was informed is its liability for the carbon method.


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