Will sewer stench affect neighbors in Carnation?
October 2, 2008 · Updated 2:42 PM
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
"I can see that if there's odors, we just wasted $4 to $5 million,"
"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
"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
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.