Will sewer stench affect neighbors in Carnation?

CARNATION _ Before Ray Walker and Linda Pfeiffer invest

millions of dollars into their dream garden, they want to make sure that

the city of Carnation's proposed sewage treatment plant won't raise a stink.

If the Carnation City Council decides to bring sewers into the city,

then the plant would be located on a 10-acre lot along West Entwistle

Street, which is adjacent to Pfeiffer Farms and the upcoming Sterling Gardens

owned by Walker.

The gardens, which are scheduled to be opened around the same time

as the sewer plant, are anticipated to be a major Valley attraction featuring

seasonal flowers, a three-acre pond and an education center.

But the owners are hesitant to even begin construction until they

know that there won't be a foul smell that could turn away their

admission-paying customers.

"I can see that if there's odors, we just wasted $4 to $5 million,"

Pfeiffer said.

"I'm in support of a sewer for the town, but we're not in support of

putting it next door and we want assurance that there won't be any

odors," she added.

Einar Gundersen of American Engineering, the company hired to

conduct the sewer study, told Pfeiffer and the members of the Sewer

Advisory Committee that the treatment plant proposed for the city would be a

top-notch facility.

"The plant is designed to have 100 percent odor control," he said.

"Will there be odor? It's very possible. There may be reasons that a

certain component is not working," he said. "The assurance is there, but

as for a guarantee? I don't know what to say."

The place most likely to emit any odors is where the untreated

sewage enters the plant, Gundersen said, adding that a building would cover

the area, which in turn would minimize the smell. The waste would then

go through a filtration process to remove any large substances from the

liquid. The sewage will continue to an aerobic digester, which uses air to

break down the bacteria. The final step is to disinfect the water that will later

be discharged into the river or used as non-potable water to irrigate

nearby land.

If the city hires a qualified person to run the facility, Gundersen said

that would greatly decrease the possibility of any foul smells.

"The operator needs to have the right knowledge and integrity to

make sure the treatment plant works how it's designed," he said.

Committee member Laurie Clinton further explained that the

odor issue is one of the group's top priorities because it would affect

everyone in the city.

"We have been meeting for months and it's a major concern for the

residents of Carnation," she said. "Our primary concern is that there's no

odor for our citizens."

However, the committee acts only as an advisory panel to the city

council on the sewer issue. It would be up to the council and administration

to ensure that the treatment plant remains odor free.

"If the citizens want a good plant with no odor, that's what we'll

do," said Mayor Bob Patterson. "The process and policies will be set up."

The Draft Comprehensive Sewer and Facility Plan prepared by

American Engineering will be available to the public on July 7. Then on July

20, a public forum will be held at the Sno-Valley Senior Center at 7:30 p.m.

The council will hold a public hearing at their Aug. 1 city council meeting,

with the sewer committee making their recommendation to the council on

Aug. 8. The council is scheduled to make its final decision on the sewer issue

at its Aug. 15 meeting.

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