Question RE City Sewer Plants

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Peacock, Jun 16, 2006.

  1. Peacock

    Peacock writing some wrongs Supporter

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    Although we do not live in the city nor are we hooked to a sewage line, our routines often take us past the nearby town's sewage treatment plant. It's currently under construction, though whether it's just been built or is under expansion or improvement I don't know. What I do know is that it REEKS.

    We're lucky that we don't smell it where we live, though unfortunately it's located next to the creek for which our township is named, which runs through the back of the lots across the street from our house (I'm not sure in which direction, though. I hope it's downriver.) How convenient, I thought, for a sewer treatment plant to be located next to a creek. :( But I feel sorry for the subdivision across from the sewage plant, a bunch of pricey brand new homes. The stench is so strong I can't understand why these people would even bother building a back deck.

    Is this normal? When sewage treatment plants are complete and properly functioning, are they still supposed to stink? Are they supposed to have open "pools" of churning brown water in them? Isn't that disgusting?
     
  2. boonieman

    boonieman Well-Known Member

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    Actually, and theoretically, a properly operating sewage plant should have very little smell. The construction you see going on may be causing some temporary disruption in the normal operation of the plant. Sewage plants always discharge water, supposedly "clean" and treated, thus the need for a creek or river for them to discharge to. All that being said, reality is that these plants never operate properly 100% of the time. They never discharge CLEAN water into a creek or river 100% of the time. Mechanical malfunctions, mother nature, all sorts of catastrophies can strike these plants. Although they may be considered necessities by a lot of folk, I just can't imagine why anybody would want to live anywhere near one of these, given a choice.
     

  3. cast iron

    cast iron Well-Known Member

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    Yes, some of them have open pools of churning brown water. Most of the time though they shield that from public view. Despite the seemingly discusting nature of a sewage plant, all the ones I've been around have had zero smell. The smell of manure being sprayed on the farm fields is far more smelly than any treatment plant I've been around. Come to think of it, the smell of any dairy farm I've been close to has been far worse than any treatment plant.

    In fact, we have a treatment plant going in down the way a bit, and they will be tearing down a soup company building to build the treatment plant. The residents in that area are thrilled as the soup company smelled awful most of the time...
     
  4. Peacock

    Peacock writing some wrongs Supporter

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    Believe me, I have never smelled anything worse than this sewage plant on a hot, still day. I would MUCH rather smell cow poo. I mean, really, even if the cow poo actually did smell worse, wouldn't you rather smell that than people poo? :nono:
     
  5. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    I would be willing to bet that the treatment plant is undergoing an upgrade. And I'd also be willing to bet that the treatment plant was there before the neighbors built their homes next door. I wouldn't feel sorry for them at all.

    Yes, wastewater treatment plants will stink during a construction upgrade. The reason for this is that it is likely that many of the clarifiers, digestors and aeration tanks are empty so they can be worked on. That means the remaining clarifiers, digestors and aeration tanks are temporarily overloaded. When wastewater treatment devices are overloaded, they will stink. I'm sure the upgrade will result in a plant that is near odorless.

    And it is NOT unfortunate that the treatment plant is near the creek for which the township was named! It would be unfortunate it there was no treatment plant at all! and all the towns wastewater was discharged to the creek with no treatment at all!

    The churning wastewater you see is a process called "activated sludge." The water is constantly mixed for tow reasons (1) so that the benficial microorganism in the wastewater are in constant association with the organic matter in the waste and (2) so air is dissolved into the wastewater. The beneficial microorganisms need the organic matter for food and the air to "breath." It's a form of "liquid composting."

    So next time you drive by a treatment plant be thankful that it is there. Wastewater treatment plants are doing something about pollution. Most people sit back and complain about pollution...a treatment plant and the plant staff are doing something about the problem. Wastewater treatment personnel who I know are the "salt of the earth," they are pollution fighters!
     
  6. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Farmer had a pipe break & overfilled his barn pit with thousands of gallons of well water; big fine to him for the pollution of the spilled manure, tho it was 80% well water & an accident.

    During a flood year neighboring city had a raw sewage pipe break that ran under the Minnesota river, was dumping raw city sewage (50k gallons a day) into the river & no way to stop it for 3 months due to high water levels. Govt said that was ok, freak of nature, the sewage posed no threat to anyone anyhow. No problems, no fines.

    --->Paul