The City of Salmon Arm’s wastewater treatment plant. (File photo)

The City of Salmon Arm’s wastewater treatment plant. (File photo)

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

Staff wish to give new technology a try at wastewater facility

With it decided Salmon Arm’s sewage treatment plant will be staying put, the city is looking at new options for odour control.

Prior to proceeding with the process of expanding the wastewater treatment facility at 121 Narcisse St. NW, city staff wish to try out new tech that could be used for keeping odours in check. At council’s regular meeting of Monday, Feb. 22, staff asked for permission to pursue a pilot project involving a technology called aerobic granular sludge (AGS) for bionutrient removal.

“One of the best ways to deal with this is actually have a pilot plant brought to our city, and run our wastewater through the plant to determine if it actually functions with our level of effluent,” explained city engineering and public works director Rob Niewenhuizen, adding the technology is widely used around the world, with the cities of Calgary and Edmonton moving towards it as well.

“We therefore we are asking for council’s blessing to seek quotes to implement a pilot project at the wastewater treatment plant.”

A staff report explains the AGS process is similar enough to what is currently used at the plant (convention activated sludge) to require little retraining. However, with AGS, the entire nutrient process is completed within single enclosed reactors, with reactors added as required. According to staff, the technology requires a very small footprint and, “would allow the city to remove the majority of the existing open-air portions of the plant, maximizing odour control.”

Staff also estimated there would be a 15 per cent reduction in operation and maintenance costs with the new system, compared to the current one in place.

Read more: Sniffing out options for expansion of Salmon Arm’s sewage treatment plant

Read more: Current site of Salmon Arm’s sewage treatment plant chosen for expansion

“Staff have many questions as to how the AGS technology would work with our local conditions and how the change would affect day-to-day operations,” reads the report. “Without a plant in an equivalent environment to tour it is difficult to grasp the consequences of changing technologies.”

Council gave unanimous support for the pilot project. Coun. Kevin Flynn, whose office is near the plant, said the odour isn’t there every day but when it is, you smell it.

“I think anything we can do to be more efficient, not necessary more effective at treating the wastewater, but more efficient… anything we can do to eliminate the odour I’m for,” said Flynn.


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