What is that smell?; Town works to fix odor coming from wastewater treatment plant

By Lisa Capobianco
Staff Writer
The heat wave that took over Connecticut this summer left an unpleasant odor coming from Southington’s wastewater treatment plant, near the Southington Drive-in.
Town Manager Garry Brumback said at a recent Town Council meeting that during this major heat wave, organisms in the anaerobic digester that eat the sewage underwent a growth spree and stopped eating.
“The organisms more than doubled in size then they were not performing the function they were supposed to perform and odor developed,” Brumback said.
Residents have reported smells of sewage, which comes and goes sporadically.
Since the heat wave, the engineers and wastewater treatment staff have worked together on a number of solutions.
Brumback said there are two parts of the solution, managing the odor in the short term and and recreating a healthy environment for the bacteria to grow in the long term.
For the short-term plan, workers tried rerouting the waste stream, which failed, and they also added chlorine to the waste stream, which only worked intermittently, Brumback said.
Brumback said now the town is in the process of finding sources of liquid permanganate, a rare commodity that may ease the odor for a short while.
“The engineers and waste water treatment staff have been there everyday… trying to find innovative ways to control the odor,” he said. “All the different things we were trying did not work.”
Brumback said the long-term goal is to rebuild the digesters, and the town is several months away from this plan.
“It takes time to get [the digesters] back to normal,” Brumback said.
Town Councilor Chris Palmieri said he spoke with Water Pollution Control Superintendent John De Gioia, who has consistently contacted residents who live within the area ahead of time.
“I want to compliment him for being proactive rather than waiting to be reactive,” Palmieri said.

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