James Rada, Jr.
The problem of an odor coming from the wastewater treatment plant lagoon that the town rents to Enviro-Organic Technologies (EOT) during the winter appears to be under control.
After many residents complained of the horrible smell caused by the food process residuals that were being stored in the lagoon, the town and EOT took steps to address the problem.
The lagoon had not been used since the new wastewater plant went into operation. EOT currently hauls the town’s sludge, but it was in need of a place to store a wash water product from processing poultry.
With the lagoon being filled once again for winter storage, Town Manager Cathy Willets and EOT General Manager Mike Oliver updated the mayor and commissioners on what would be happening at the lagoon for the next year to keep the smell to a minimum.
The problem is that the material stored in the lagoon has been creating a hydrogen sulfide type of smell. “They mixed last year, which was the big reason why there was the odor in town,” Oliver said.
The best preventative in stopping the smell was the development of an 8-inch crust on the top of the lagoon, using straw laid over the lagoon. So now, any stirring that is done, can be done under the cap, with very little odor escaping.
PVC piping was laid down the slope of the lagoon and under the cap. This allows the lagoon to be filled or material removed directly to and from the truck, with little to no chance for the odor to escape.
The time frame for filling the lagoon can take place on twelve work days, from December 15, 2017, to February 28, 2018.
In the spring, it can be removed over twelve days, from March 1 to May. The preference is to remove the material as soon as possible before the temperatures warm up, increasing the chance of an odor problem.
The trucks won’t travel through Emmitsburg, which will reduce the chances of odors reaching residents, should there be a problem.
A field operator will be onsite when the material is being removed to deal with any problems quickly.
Oliver also said that a new bacteria was being tested in Georgia lagoons to control solids and odor. It was showing promise, and if the data continues to be favorable, it might be pilot tested in Emmitsburg. The one possible problem, though, is that the lagoon will need to be at least 45 degrees for it to work.
EOT pays the town $80,000 to use the lagoon. The rent will help offset some of the operating costs of the new wastewater treatment plant.