Utility OKs project to remove foul odor | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Utility OKs project to remove foul odor

Gregory Crofton, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Eeew, that smell. Can’t you smell that smell?

Homeowners and businesses along Al Tahoe Boulevard won’t have to put up with it much longer.

A $7.2 million upgrade approved last week by the South Tahoe Public Utility District will reduce up to 95 percent of the rotten-egg odor created by its wastewater, said Dennis Cocking, district information officer.

The odor is created as sewer water is purified in tanks. The tanks ideally will be covered by this winter, Cocking said. The odor will also decrease as air from the tanks is filtered through pools of bacteria that eat the hydrogen and sulfur causing the smell, Cocking said.

The project also calls for new sludge driers for the concentrated waterwaste. The driers will eliminate the district’s need to burn sludge cakes, which it has done since 1968.

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The driers will be more efficient than the ones used now and eliminate enough water from the cakes so they can be trucked to Minden and used as compost, he said.

Right now, natural gas is used to burn the sludge, which causes air pollution at the Lake Tahoe Basin and causes high energy costs, Cocking said.

The furnace leaves behind a rust-colored ash that ends up at a landfill near Reno. If the project goes as planned, new driers will be in place by April 2003 and go into operation during the summer.

“For a number of years we’ve never liked the idea of burning it,” Cocking said. “It’s more appealing for us to do something environmentally friendly like this composting.”

With the new driers in place, sludge cakes will be transported to Minden five days a week. Right now, the district makes one trip a week to dump the sludge ash.

To accommodate the increased traffic, and to eliminate trucking on Sierra Boulevard, the project also allows a road to be paved from the district facilities to Al Tahoe.

Cocking said the road may be in place by October, but a decision about what type of intersection it will require may delay its construction.

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or gcrofton@tahoedailytribune.com


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