Thursday, May 04, 2006

Metro Water Nonanswers

Many of you know that during the previous 13 months until about a week ago, I was President of Salemtown Neighbors. I didn't need to promote that on Enclave, because as I said, many of you know that. Thus, there was no reason to confuse personal opinions I expressed on Enclave with the broader, less strident purposes of Salemtown Neighbors. As President, my creed was to avoid subjective entanglements. But for those of you who did not know, well, now you know.

One of my last acts as association President was to send Metro Water an e-mail about recent increases in occurrences of awfully smelly drafts blowing out of the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant (background on this problem can be found here and here). During the weeks of April, it was getting worse than it had ever been in the past. That spoiled us here, because as I wrote in February (thus, jinxing my neighborhood), we had been enjoying funk-free days during most of the winter. Here's an excerpt of the April 21st letter I addressed to Metro Water's Public Information Officer, Sonia Harvat:
Neighborhood residents were encouraged over the fall and early winter that the days in which the noxious smells coming from the water treatment plant seemed to be growing less and less due to the odor control measures Metro Water had taken in the latter part of 2005.

However, over the last month to six weeks, the awful smells seem to be increasing each week. This past week has been the worst as the smell has continued unabated every day since Sunday [April 16]. I remember that your representative told us at the community meeting that "environmental factors" contributed to the drift of odor into the neighborhood, but we have been subjected to the smell through all kinds of weather: cold, hot, rainy, dry, and wind blowing from every direction. I have a hard time believing that environment alone is causing the latest funk.

Have the odor control measures been interrupted or has Metro Water discontinued them? Has the transport of solid waste off of your property been interrupted? Please help us understand how Metro Water intends to deal with this problem.
I received the following response from Ms. Harvat today:
The odor control project at our Central Wastewater Treatment Plant is on schedule for completion July 2006. A considerable amount of the odors will be eliminated with this project. The dramatic reduction will not be noticed until completion of the biosolids facility which is scheduled for completion June 2008.

For more information or to sign up for email updates, please visit our website at
I don't believe she answered all of my questions beyond the last one.

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