City of Salmon Arm will be taking on a pilot project to reduce the odour emanating from its wastewater treatment facility. (File photo)

City of Salmon Arm will be taking on a pilot project to reduce the odour emanating from its wastewater treatment facility. (File photo)

COLUMN: The smell of money and other odoriferous phenomena of Salmon Arm

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

“It’s the smell of money.”

When I lived in Kamloops years ago, that was a common response to complaints about the odour emanating from the local pulp mill.

Note that while defending the local employer, this response wasn’t a denial of the unpleasant scent, which could often be smelled at least a half dozen kilometres across town.

By comparison, the air in Salmon Arm can often be likened to a glass of ice water on a hot summer day. On some days, though, there are parts of town where the air isn’t always so refreshing.

Being a community deeply rooted in agriculture, Salmon Arm is not without its own smells of money. There are a small number of days a year when the olfactory receptors can be caught off guard when downtown by a wafting pungent aroma of what I’ve been told is fertilizer.

Another industrial odour I’ve experienced more frequently as of late is the dead-skunk smell of a medical cannabis operation that fills our vehicle as we drive our son to school in the morning along 10th Avenue SE. The smell lingers long enough for us to be grateful we don’t live nearby.

As with a lot of things, maybe such smells are something to which one adjusts. I’d rather not know.

Read more: City to pursue pilot project targeting smell at Salmon Arm’s sewage treatment plant

Read more: Editorial: Bigger concerns than smell to solve with Salmon Arm sewage treatment plant

Less predictable odours, however, offer less opportunity for adaptation. Like the smell of burning waste that frequents our Hillcrest neighbourhood usually after dark and lingers until sunrise. On one morning last week my nose detected what I guessed to be molten plastic milk jugs with woody undertones. Sorry, I do not confess to being a connoisseur of combustibles.

A more consistent emanation, in terms of bouquet, that many more people I would guess have experienced in town comes from our wastewater treatment facility at 121 Narcisse St. NW. This is another smell that can be associated with money – for an indisputably important municipal service. Though some might, and have argued the facility would be better located elsewhere, at this time it is destined to remain at its current address close to our downtown. However, and on a positive, note, the city is pursuing a pilot project to reduce the associated odour, with the intent of finding a suitable technology to include in an impending facility upgrade.

I expect that despite the cost, the wastewater treatment plant smell is one residents will be happy to do without.

@SalmonArm
lachlan@saobserver.net

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