Sewer stinks up Payson


    By Michael Hohmann

    In an effort to cleanse Main Street of an odor problem, Payson City will plant about 70 trees near the city”s sewer treatment facility.

    Residents have been complaining about the reeking facility, located at the 1062 N. Main St., for the

    last two years. The city made improvements two years ago by replacing sewer pipes, said Marcus Perry an operator at the Payson power plant; however, some residents feel the improvements didn”t help the smell.

    Most of the complaints come from people passing through the area, Perry said. Only the power plant and one residential house are close to the sewer facility, but the smell isn”t strong enough to penetrate in the power plant or home, Perry said.

    Payson city officials responded to complaints and found that planting trees would be the most cost efficient and natural way to alleviate the smell.

    Officials chose conifer trees, a needle-leaf evergreen, which will help to keep the amount of leaves from blowing around Main Street during the fall. Each tree will cost an average of $300, said David Herbert, plant supervisor for Payson Sewer Treatment Plant.

    “Until this area is built up more, we won”t spend the $100,000”s in other options to eliminate the odor,” Herbert said.

    Herbert estimated that the trees would be planted by next April at the latest.

    Phil Allen, a BYU professor of horticulture in the department of Plant and animal science said that the conifer trees would be effective in reducing the smell.

    “[Conifer trees] can trap the air, Allen said. “They make the air more still so that it is not blown around by the wind.”

    The effect of the trees will be an improvement, but it may not completely dissolve the smell, Allen said. The effectiveness of the trees also depends on humidity, wind, and other weather conditions. Allen said he bikes through Payson several times each year and has never noticed the smell while riding by the treatment plant.

    Despite the complaints currently being made about odors from the plant, Perry feels the smell has actually improved since two years ago.

    “They just redid the [sewer] plant two years ago, and I think it”s gotten better since then,” Perry said. “It [the smell] was pretty bad there before they modernized the [sewer] plant.”

    Even with the improvements of the past, more expensive corrections to the facility of itself could solve the problem.

    “Foul odors associated with sewer treatment plants are a result of an ineffective treatment plant,” Allen said. “A properly run sewage treatment plant has no odors.”

    When the city updated the sewer plant two years ago, they spent $7.5 million to increase the plant capacity and install new processing equipment, Herbert said. Future updates to the sewer plant itself would almost completely rid Main Street of the odor, he said.

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