News and Tribune

June 27, 2013

City seeking an air freshener

Sewer board agrees to hire air-control specialist



Jeffersonville’s Sewer Board is looking for someone to freshen the air in the city.

Wastewater Superintendent Len Ashack made his case to hire an employee that will help monitor the city’s sewer system, citing expenses paid for odor-control chemicals by the city’s sewer department during the last two years.

“The whole logic behind having this person ... is to make sure that we’re adding the chemicals we need to add, no more, no less,” Ashack said. “I think we can save one-third, if not more on the chemical costs.”

According to a cost spreadsheet provided by Ashack, in 2012 the city paid $383,760 to add chemicals at eight sites throughout Jeffersonville. To date in 2013 the city has paid $105,203 in odor-control chemical costs.

“We’re going to easily spend more than half-a-million, closer to $700,000 in two years,” Ashack said.

By hiring a wastewater air-control specialist, the sewer department will be able to constantly monitor chemical levels for odor control, Ashack said.

“We don’t have a person dedicated to do that, we need a person that’s dedicated to do that,” Ashack said.

Sewer Board Member Dale Orem agreed.

“When you go manual, instead of what these guys set it at, it’s got to save us some money,” he said, referring to the chemical companies that set chemical levels.

The sewer board unanimously approved a positive recommendation be passed along to the Jeffersonville City Council to hire the air-control specialist at a pay grade four, which would total between $34,000 and $51,000.

While chemicals will be added at pump stations throughout the city, the new treatment plants downtown and on 10th Street will not use chemical controls for odor.

Ashack said the downtown treatment facility — near the U.S. Census Bureau building — will use and air treatment system to reduce odors. The 10th Street plant will use a bioscrubber to treat the wastewater.

In order to install the bioscrubber at the 10th Street plant, the sewer board has been working on an agreement to repurchase land it sold to Clark Memorial Hospital for $319,000.

An appraisal conducted on behalf of the sewer board set the property value at $319,375 for slightly less than one acre, and at the board’s previous meeting Sewer Board Attorney Scott Lewis said a deal had been reached to buy the property for the appraisal amount.

Last week, Lewis presented the formal purchase agreement for additional property. 

The purchase is still subject to approval by the Clark County Commissioners because Clark Memorial Hospital is a county-owned hospital.

Ashack added that the air-control specialist will also be responsible for monitoring the odor control systems at the downtown and 10th Street treatment plants.