Action taken in sewage smell update
Last week’s Beacon featured a story about residents who are frustrated with the smell of sewage in their neighbourhood, saying the Town of Gander needs to find a solution to a problem that has persisted for years.
Gander Town Hall
The Beacon’s deadline for last week’s paper was on June 27, and there was maintenance carried out at the sewage treatment plant on Magee Road before the story went to print.
Wayne Lorenzen, chairperson of the Wastewater Steering committee, said the Town is pushing forward with its plan for a new sewage treatment plant, and there will be outside management of the plant on Magee Road in an effort to keep the undesirable smell from looming in the area.
A group that specializes in wastewater treatment has been hired to manage plans for the new plant and will oversee the maintenance on the Magee Road sewage treatment plant.
“They’ll take over the reins for us in terms of lining up contractors, design aspects, run the request for proposal process for us, and organize our connection with the government for funds,” said Lorenzen. “They are project management specialists. That’s what they do.”
The Town has been in consultations with the group and its engineers on how to increase efficiency at the Magee Road plant, and about 13,000 gallons of sludge was removed on June 27.
“Greg Ashley has 21 years of experience as a skilled engineer, and he visited the plant before we even had a meeting with his group,” said Lorenzen. “He came in and made a bunch of suggestions to our Town engineer and our supervisors who take care of the plant, and then after that meeting they went down and started cleaning out the tanks on Friday. It seems like it did make a difference.”
Having the group manage the Town’s wastewater treatment solutions is a useful resource in its effort to reduce the smell of sewage coming from the plant on Magee Road, as well as managing plans for a new treatment plant, said Lorenzen.
“Now that we’ve officially made the commitment to hire these people, they’re on retainer all the time, and we’ll constantly be working on ways to keep the smell at a minimum so that we can extent the longevity of the plant until the new one is built. Primarily, they’ve been hired as project management specialists for our new sewage treatment plant, but the bonus is we also have their expertise for managing our plant until the new one is built.”
Nancy Healey-Dove lives close to the plant on Magee Road, and has been frustrated with the smell of sewage in her neighbourhood. This new initiative by the Town is promising, she said, but should have been put in place before.
“It doesn’t appear that they have any answers, but they are looking for a solution,” said Healey-Dove. “There was still some smell over the weekend, even after the 13,000 gallons of sludge was removed. The smell is not as bad as it was, but it’s still there. You can still smell it and you still have to close the windows.”
Recent efforts made by the Town prove it’s now listening to the concerns shared by residents, she said.
“I don’t know if they formally acknowledged there was an issue with the plant before, but they have now. There’s no talk of a permanent fix yet, but plans for the new plant is still in the works. They are all aware of it, and they all realize that something needs to be done. It’s just what’s going to be done and how quick it will be done is my question.”