Maine water district hires an odor consultant after residents complain

Portland Water District plans to identify sources and potential remedies

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The Portland (Maine) Press Herald newspaper reported on a rise in odor complaints from the Portland Water District’s East End Wastewater Treatment Plant affecting the Munjoy Hill neighborhood. The district has undertaken a study to find the cause of the odors and identify potential solutions.

“A wastewater odor expert says the plant has more odor controlling systems than most treatment plants in the U.S., but residents and water district officials say this summer seemed particularly bad for odors, the paper reported. “The water district noticed an increase in complaints in September.”

The district got about half a dozen odor complaints in September, versus the typical one or two per month. Some residents said the odor was strong enough so that they had to sleep with their windows closed.

To assess the issues, the district hired Robert Bowker of Bowker & Associates of Portland, specializing in wastewater odors. The district plans to start a formal process to track odor complaints, including an online form for documenting the day, time and weather conditions. The plant will also draft an odor-control plan.

“Bowker, who has consulted with treatment plants throughout the United States, said the East End Treatment Plant has better odor controlling systems than 90 percent of the plants he has seen,” the newspaper reported.




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