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New MW plant causing stink for some residents

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By Mary Barczak

 The new sewer treatment plant is causing quite a stink for some residents of Mount Washington.

At the last city council meeting Aug. 25 resident Marshall McKinley, who lives on Becky McKinley Avenue, addressed the council about the issue.

“I’ve been in the same house for 35 years,” he said. “Since the revamp of the sewer plant there’s evenings we just can’t go outside.”

McKinley told the council he understands that the city’s growing, but he said something needs to be done to resolve the stench.

He said he addressed them last year about it also and was “ assured” some action would be taken on it. In lieu of this, McKinley asked the council not to issue any more sewer permits “until the stink can be resolved.”

“It’s unacceptable, I don’t think I’m asking for anything that shouldn’t be a part of just living in town,” he said.

McKinley asked if any of the council members lived at that part of town and Greg Gentry and Gayle Troutman both said that they did and acknowledged that they smell it from time to time.

Gentry said he thinks the smell has been worse lately because of how dry it is.

McKinley invited the council to come out and take a whiff of what he’s dealing with. Mayor Joetta Calhoun said she had drive by there this morning and hadn’t smelled it.

She said the city is considering some alternatives such as adding chemicals to the sewage to help with the smell.

Tim Johnson, pump station supervisor for the city, explained to McKinley that it takes about three days for the raw waste to process. He said what he’s smelling is the release of gases into the air which has been travelling underground for three miles.

He said the high traffic times are in the morning and evenings when people are home and all trying to utilize the system at once. Johnson said he hopes to facilitate the process, with the $25,000 for odor control in the sewer/lift station budget this year, by adding some sort of regulator to the system so they don’t all try to pump at once.

Councilmember Sandra Hockenbury asked if Johnson could report back to the council about the progress.

Calhoun said, “Let’s push this and make it a priority.”

Other items from the meeting:

  • There was a second reading on the farmer’s market ordinance which was approved unanimously.
  • During the mayor’s report, Calhoun conveyed that the City Clerk Dawn Hall had been checking into the costs of signs to put the city’s achievements on, but she would bring color samples and sizes to the next meeting.
  • There was a first reading on an ordinance to annex about one acre on Barbara Sue Lane to the city.
  • There was also a first reading for the motor vehicle tax rate. The proposed ordinance will keep the tax rate the same at 15 cents on each $100.
  • The council discussed the Richard Miles’ request to have sidewalks on only one side of his development which City Attorney Matthew Lemme said he can do if noone has occupied the house yet and if he submits a new plan with one sidewalk.
  • The council also review minutes from two previous meetings about the development on Bleemal Lane.
  • Council member Barry Armstrong asked if security at schools in MW had been addressed recently. MW Police Chief Roy Daugherty said the schools keep in touch with his department and if they need something then they call. He also said they have D.A.R.E officers and a resource officer that go to schools. “I just want to make sure that we’re taking precaution,” Armstrong said.
  • Lemme said he’s continuing to review the city’s ABC ordinance to modernize it in relation to growth and new businesses. He also said he is preparing for the government mandated sign change.
  • At the end of the meeting the council went into executive session to discuss the acquisition of property and pending litigation but Lemme said no action was taken.

The next meeting will be Sept. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the City Annex. The public is invited to attend.