Town of Berwick appealing for public patience with ‘unacceptable odours’ from sewer treatment plant

Nancy Kelly
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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. 

Geographic location: Berwick, Eden Valley

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Recent comments

  • smelly
    May 23, 2014 - 11:15

    Nothing new....That thing has been stinking since it was installed in the 1960's...you always knew when it would because the lagoon was stinking

  • Ticked off Taxpayer
    May 22, 2014 - 16:58

    If you check your records and past articles there was one writen on March 11, 2013 in concerns to the smell and that taxes were going to be withheld by the tax payers before the new Eden Valley opened. This issue with the town sewage plant has been going on for over a DECADE and started back when Larsens came to town !!!! This should not be a on going issue as what materials are being added to the ponds are SUPPOSED to be elimated before Eden Valley sends its waste water to the plant. What health issues should the public be aware of smelling raw sewage for over a week and a half as well as the health hazards from this additional chemical being added to the ponds ???? If Public Works is using a airraider to circulate more air into the sewage it is making the smell more air born as well as adding these chemicals into the air. Its great that Eden Valley is in our community and supporting local jobs but it is not following the rules and regulations that were put into place before the plant opened. The upgrades that took place before the plant opened was supposed to handle what was being sent to the waste plant and is not good enough. Eden valley is sending roughly 4X'S the amount of sewage they stated they would be sending to the plant when all these questions were asked by the tax payers when talks started about the plant reopening. If this was a regular tax payer having septic issues that gave off a smell like this Dept. of Enviroment would be serving the tax payer with fines !!!!! I as a taxpayer in the town feel that we were lied to by Eden Valley as they were only looking out for there best interest and not for the people that live in the community. What is this going to do to our property values ?? By now Im sure a lot of people know that Berwick has had this issue for a LONG time now and who would want to buy a house in Berwick ???? How are any of the property owners going to sell there properties and get there appraised value out of it ??? Are the tax payers going to be the ones that fork the bill for the upgrades and repairs to the plant ???? The town is asking for a 4% increase to promote the town and is trying to grow the community LOL lets deal with what we have on our plate right now and not worry about a tax increase of 4% and then a possible increase for the offset that Eden Valley is not made to pay for THERE SCREW UP.