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Paden City Hall Asks for Patience as it Addresses Odor Problem

By Staff | Apr 27, 2016

PADEN CITY — The city’s Sewer Board met Tuesday evening to discuss the problems associated with the wastewater treatment plant.

This statement was released at the meeting by Elizabeth Fletcher, chief waste water operator. The statement posted in its entirety appears below. Fletcher asks for patience as the city continues to take steps to reduce the odor coming from the wastewater treatment plant. She said micro-organisms and aging equipment are to blame, but that steps are being taken to correct the problem.

The Paden City Wastewater Treatment Plant takes in everything that is flushed and sent down drains by the citizens of the town. The trash and grit is removed and disposed of and the water portion is then treated to a standard that the DEP (state Department of Environmental Protection) has deemed safe to discharge in to the Ohio River.

The water is treated by keeping it churned up in the aeration basin and allowing microorganisms (BUGS) to eat away at the organic materials. It then enters a settling tank were the solids are able to settle to the bottom and the clean water is removed from the top. This water is sent threw a chlorine disinfection process to kill any germs that may still be living in it. The chlorine is then removed and the water is discharged to the river.

The solids are removed from the bottom of the tank and are again churned to allow the microorganisms (BUGS) to get a final feed before they slurry is poured into drying beds. These beds have a drainage system that allows the water to be removed and the solids remain where they can dry before being disposed of at the landfill.

As simple as this process may sound it is not cheap to do. It is a science and takes many expensive chemicals, pumps, blowers and other specially designed equipment to complete. In normal circumstances the plant never stops working. It is a 24 hour a day, 365 days a year operation. What does change is the chemistry of the water on a day to day basis. This is caused not only by what is in the water we receive but also by the weather.

Continuous maintenance and upkeep is required to keep the plant running properly. As the plant continues to age steps are being taken to upgrade and improve its function. In November of 2015 with permission from the DEP the plant was completely emptied in order to remove years worth of old build up in the bottoms of the tanks and to make much needed repairs to the existing concrete structures that are over 30 years old. Many of the existing mechanical systems are now worn and outdated and we are in the process of replacing and upgrading them to make the plant more effective and efficient.

After emptying the plant the timely process of the startup began. Even after the plant was put back into operation, it takes time to build up the required solids and microbiology (BUGS) to get the water chemistry stabilized. The amount of time this process takes depends on the plants flow, the material in the water and the weather. A very large percent of the waste received is water causing it to take so much time to get the buildup of solids needed. Without enough solids as food for the microbiology (BUGS) they begin to die off allowing the organic material to decay. This causes odor problems. The odor is then carried by the wind causing it to be distributed throughout the town. Steps are being taken to correct this problem.

We appreciate your patience in this matter.