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December 8, 2012

Jeffersonville examines options for eating odors

City looks at to address smells from wastewater plant, pump station

JEFFERSONVILLE — The city may look to repurchase property that was recently bought by Clark Memorial Hospital in order to address the odors coming from the 10th street pump station.

Jim Ross, with Webster Environmental Associates Inc., presented two “viable options” to the Jeffersonville Sewer Board on Thursday to eliminate the odors at the wastewater treatment plant downtown and at the newly constructed pump station on 10th Street.

The two options at the pump station included a biofilter that could be installed at the site with an estimated cost of $890,000 or a bioscrubber at an estimated cost of $1.17 million. Costs for each of the options could be lowered by about $160,000 initially by waiting to install a concrete coating, but Ross said it would eventually need to be installed to prevent erosion.

“Neither of them are cheap,” Ross said. “Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer for the odor-control situation that we’ve got.”

He explained that with the biofilter option — which would have the appearance similar to mulch — the city would need to purchase at least part of the property next to the 10th Street pump station that the city formerly owned. The city sold the land, which has remained undeveloped, to Clark Memorial Hospital.

“It would not fit on the existing 10th Street pump station property,” Ross said.

According to Wastewater Superintendent Len Ashack, the hospital purchased the property for $319,000 and a recent appraisal set the value at $391,000. Questions were raised about a provision that may exist in the agreement which would allow the city to buy the property back at the cost for which it was sold and whether or not the city would have to buy the whole property.

Ross added that the biofilter requires media replacement every five years at a minimal cost.

The other option he presented has a higher initial cost, but is set to last 15 to 20 years before there is a need for media replacement. However, the bioscrubber option would be a 15-foot tower, would be above any wall that would be constructed around the pump station and would cost nearly $50,000 in annual water consumption compared to the biofilter’s estimated $3,000 annually.

Sewer Board Member Dale Orem asked if either option would work.

Ross responded that either would resolve the odor problem for the pump station.

Sewer Board Member Bill Saegesser followed-up by asking what was Ross’ recommendation.

“I think the biofilter is a better option ... because it’s low profile,” he said. “I think it fits what the city is trying to do with their entrance [to Jeffersonville]. I think the bioscrubber is going to be a tower that is going to be seen from everywhere and I don’t know if that’s what you guys are looking for, for that location.”

Mayor Mike Moore has expressed his desire to construct a different fence around the pump station to beautify the area, which sits adjacent to the Interstate 65 ramps, because it serves as a main entrance to the city.

The project will still need to be bid out, but the sewer board agreed to move forward to allow Webster to draft plans for odor-control proposals.

Included in the plans would be to draft a proposal to install a bioscrubber on the downtown wastewater treatment plant headworks for an estimated $400,000. The installation of the bioscrubber will “reduce if not eliminate the odors at the downtown wastewater treatment plant,” according to a city press release.

Ashack said the engineering costs for the headworks is estimated to cost $39,000 and $96,000 for bioswale and the money for the projects set to come from build America bonds.

The agreement with Webster Environmental is expected to be presented at the sewer board’s next meeting at 3 p.m. Dec. 20.

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