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Public Works takes steps to eliminate odor
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MONROE - The Public Works committee has approved a plan to reduce the odor from Monroe's wastewater equalization tank with a floating cover structure comprised of a number of hexagonal pieces.

Hexa-Cover discs block out UV rays to reduce organic growth of algae in the tank and also reduce both evaporation and emissions by up to 95 percent. Public Works Director Colin Simpson sees the system as most beneficial for its ability to control odor. The makers of the product promise a 90-percent reduction.

After a few months of research, the Public Works Department found the floating system as it was looking for an effective chemical substance to cover the smell. Now, it will test the discs' effectiveness for roughly four weeks while also seeking a chemical solution. Simp-son said the treatment plant will know "pretty quickly how effective" the covering is in blocking the odor of the tank.

He expects the cover won't completely eliminate the odor and anticipates possibly needing to use the chemical deodorizer as well.

"It's a matter of mitigating as much as possible for the best cost," Simpson said.

Along with a chemical product, Simpson said the more "passive" measures would provide a temporary benefit for an undesired smell on the west side of the city until a much more costly carbon filtration system could be put in place. Though he said it is likely the filtration system would still be needed, the immediate reduction in odor would save costs.

"I think it's a good start," Simpson said.

The city plans to put the plastic discs in place this fall. Simpson said the chemicals could take up to a month to be included in the schedule because the department wants to ensure it uses the best product: It is looking for substances to eliminate the molecules which cause malodorous water rather than covering the smell with another more pleasant odor and is testing small batches of water from the tank. A number of companies that promise a natural, odor neutralizer charge as much as $1 per ounce for the products.

Simpson presented a proposal to committee members for the plastic cover. Lemna Technologies, Inc., providers of the polypropylene cover, estimated roughly $52,500 for the system to be used on the 130 square-foot water tank.

However, Simpson pointed to the chance that the tank is a result of bad mixing, meaning sludge would be building up on the bottom. Workers plan to test for sludge today. If they find evidence of the material on the bottom of the tank, Simpson said the problem "would have to be looked into" before plans could move forward with the low-impact system.