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DU gets new gear to fight bad odors

By Melanie B. Smith 340-2468

A new piece of equipment going in at Decatur's wastewater treatment plant on Alabama 20 is one more effort to reduce odors, officials said.

The Decatur Utilities board voted Wednesday to spend $150,000 on a unit called a "hydroxyl ion fog odor control system."

The machine creates a chemical reaction with gases to eliminate some odor, according to the manufacturer.

It uses no chemicals but combines ozone with micron-sized water particles to react with the hydrogen sulfide gas, which is a source of the odor. Water is the byproduct.

DU General Manager Kem Carr said he doesn't know how much the bad smells at the plant will decrease.

"If it doesn't help, we'll have them come and take it out and get a refund," he said.

The unit also will eliminate some odor-causing scum and grease, officials said.

The equipment will mean DU won't have to clean grease and scum out of its "wet well," or giant concrete pit, twice a year, said Gary Borden, DU manager of gas, water and waste water. That process costs $25,000 annually, according to Borden.

The system will eliminate corrosion of the wet well's concrete, a problem that would eventually mean a paint job without the equipment, officials said.

Borden said the system also will cut chemical usage. Thirty-five percent less bleach and caustic soda will be needed in two chemical scrubbers, saving $21,000 a year, Borden said.

Flint sewer

In other business, the board approved paying $52,464 to help extend city sewer to South Hamaker Street in the Flint neighborhood.

The utility, the city of Decatur and the customers are dividing the $157,394 cost.

Seventeen customers already paid their shares, about $3,200 each, to get service, Borden said.

The homeowners live in an area where septic tanks frequently fail because of soil composition, city officials said.

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