Berwick's public works department has been working to mitigate ‘unacceptable odours’ plaguing the town's sewer treatment plant.
The Town of Berwick reached out to its citizens via Facebook May 21, asking for their patience with unpleasant odours emanating from its waste-water treatment facility.
“Town officials are aware that at times in the last few days there have been unacceptable odours emanating from our waste water treatment plant,” detailed the post.
The post also pointed out that “open cell treatment plants can be problematic at seasonal changes” and that Berwick’s “has been challenged recently by some mechanical issues and influent strengths which combination is largely the cause of the odour problem.”
Berwick CAO Don Regan confirmed an equipment breakdown within the drum shears, which remove suspended solids, including fats and oils, “came at a bad time.” He said the breakdown of the affected component went undetected and un-repaired for several weeks, allowing fats and oils to infiltrate the treatment pond.
When asked if influent from the the Eden Valley processing plant contributed to the problem, Regan responded "it's complicated." He said officials at the plant have been consulted during the clean up.
Regan said public works staff have conducted a clean-up by removing materials that should not have reached the aeration pond and are injecting odour masking additives and enzymes that will support beneficial microbial activity.
“The steps we have taken should mitigate the problem,” said Regan, adding the system is being tested daily to monitor any changes. While he “couldn’t say with precision” when the odours will dissipate completely, Regan cautioned days with cloud cover and no wind tend to aggravate smells emanating from the facility.
This is not the first occasion that Berwick has had to deal with bad smells generated by its waste water treatment plant. Approximately 10 years ago nearby residents threatened to withhold their taxes until the air was cleared, prompting the town to conduct upgrades to the system.