The awful smell emanating from the Chase sewage lagoons is generating complaints from residents. (Rick Koch photo)

Unusually nasty odour repulses Chase residents

Village staff trying to get bacteria working in lagoons at sewage treatment plant

The scents of spring are overwhelming Chase residents – but not in a good way.

Along with lilacs and roses has come the nausea-inducing smell of sewage.

“It’s caused me to dry heave and nearly barf several times,” states one post on Chase social media, representative of several others from people complaining about the overly offensive odour.

The culprit turns out to be the lagoons at the Chase sewage treatment plant.

On May 16, the Village of Chase Facebook page informed residents that public works staff have taken steps to eradicate the rankness.

“We realize the plant is still generating odours and we understand how uncomfortable this is. Our public works staff have made some adjustments to allow for additional oxygen to be pumped into the lagoons. In addition, we have ordered an organic product that will be added into the lagoons as soon as it arrives later this week, to help the bacteria work better.”

However, complaints about stinky sewage continue to waft in.

Joni Heinrich, the village’s chief administrative officer, said Friday the solution won’t be immediate.

“Unfortunately it’s going to be a few more days before it subsides. We’re doing everything we can. We’re pumping more oxygen in, putting more enzymes in, but until the bacteria gets going on its own it will be a few more days. Barring industrial-size drums of Febreze and giant fans…”

“Somebody suggested that,” she adds.

Related: 2014 – Nasty odour persists

Heinrich says it hasn’t been this bad for several years.

Staff think it is happening because of a combination of factors, but mostly the long, cold winter, followed by a couple of weeks of “semi-spring” and then hot temperatures.

“The good bacteria go dormant in winter,” she explains, and become active when the weather warms up.

“If it’s a really quick transition from cold to hot, it takes time to get out of dormancy.”

Oxygen and enzymes have been added to boost the bacteria, so they’re expected to start working soon.

“We did a sewer upgrade last year and a bunch of work to the sewer treatment facility, which was supposed to – supposed to, according to the engineers – mitigate these kinds of things in the future.”

She said while the upgrade has increased efficiency and capacity, it didn’t deal with odour as the village was told it would.

The village is now putting a plan in place to deal with the nasty bouquet sooner in the future.

“I wish we could do more; it is bad.”

After speaking to a resident who lives near the lagoons, Heinrich says she was told the stink goes for a while and then returns, depending on air flows.

“It’s not so bad in the main part of town. The west end of town, people are really getting the brunt of it.”

She says it’s really unfortunate the stench coincided with the May long weekend, when visitors were in the area.

“Here we’re trying everything we can to promote our community, doing everything to make it great and get people to come…

“I just wish we could wave a magic wand — but we are doing everything we possibly can at the moment.”


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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