Haverhill Council Votes to Spend $2.2 Million for Odor Relief

Haverhill city councilors gave their support to spending $2.2 million toward ongoing and future odor control efforts at the wastewater treatment plant in Bradford.

All nine councilors voted in favor of a request by Deputy Public Works Director Robert Ward for a two percent interest loan for “design and construction of the first two phases” of odor control measures expected to be complete by summer, 2017. During an illustrated presentation to councilors, Ward said, while the short-term phase one is projected to reduce odor levels by 20 percent within six months, completion of phase two would bring an 80 percent cut in odor level…That effort would include installing covers to a “primary clarifier” section of the wastewater plant.

“The area on the ‘right’ is the overflow. It’s turbulent and it’s odorous. So the plan, they’ve said, ‘cover that area, leave the wide area open, because you’re not going to get a lot of bang for your buck if you cover that, there’s not much odor coming off it,’” Ward said. “And they said also on the left side of that tank is the influent end, there’s a little turbulence so they said, ‘cover that and put odor control in.’ Cover those areas, they’re predicting you’ll get that 80 percent reduction,” he added.

Ward also told councilors odor relief to area residents will also come as a plant improvement project involving a replacement sludge tank was recently completed.

“Our sludgy watering area has been under construction and that’s one of our more odorous areas. We had to demolish the old units and remove them. In demolishing them we had to set up a temprorary unit outside and that unit does not smell pleasant. As of two weeks ago the new units are online, they’re inside the building and they have a chemical control scrubber. That’s going to have a big impact on the odor situation coming into the spring,” Ward said.

According to Ward, modeling based on odor sampling between June and fall, 2015, was used to reach a target level for a “not objectionable” odor level. Taking into account weather and terrain data, odor frequency in an outlying zone from the plant would be a predicted “worst case” 50 hours in a year with completion of phase two.

In other action during their regular session, councilors voted 8 to 0 in passing a further amended city ordinance, as recommended by the Administration and Finance Committee, to allow food truck vendors operate in areas including the downtown Central Business District. Administration and Finance Committee Chairman Colin F. Lepage motioned for passage while Councilor Michael S. McGonagle seconded. Councilor Melinda E. Barrett, who operates a Merrimack Street food business, abstained. Under the amended ordinance, food vendors will be able to “propose for license from the city council any reasonable and permissible site from which to operate.”

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