A putrid stench that once pervaded Santa Rita Park has been contained at the nearby wastewater-treatment plant in Durango, a city official said Friday.
Giant domes designed to trap methane were placed on top of tanks that filter solid waste within the last month. The design is expected to significantly reduce odors wafting from the new wastewater treatment plant, said City Engineer Gregg Boysen.
“There still will be some odors coming off the plant, that’s just the nature of wastewater treatment,” Boysen said. “It’ll still be noticeable, but it’ll be more earthy.”
The $54 million project to renovate Durango’s wastewater treatment plant is 73 percent complete, he said. The project is on schedule and on budget, and is planned to be complete by May or June 2019, he said. Contractors have used about half of the more than $5 million in contingency at the request of the city for additional features on the plant.
The completed wastewater plant is designed to clean wastewater better than the existing plant, he said. The water treated by the plant will be cleaner than the water in the river where it is dumped, Boysen said. This cleaner water is required by state regulations passed in 2012 that require lower levels of phosphorous and nitrogen in treated wastewater, pollutants that can lead to algae blooms that suffocate fish.
Did you see the UFO today?! Nah... we're just kidding! This dome is the first step in the advanced odor control at our new Santa Rita Water Reclamation Facility. For more project information, please visit https://t.co/rQKCRC3GOf pic.twitter.com/jj9OdpfOi0— City of Durango (@CityofDurango) October 10, 2018
The domes placed last month are part of the city’s commitment to making the wastewater plant less smelly. Contractors plan to put carbon filters on the domes that will further purify air coming from the plant, Boysen said.
Construction at the Santa Rita wastewater-treatment plant, the largest such project undertaken by the city of Durango, began after voters in 2015 approved $68 million in debt to fund the plant and additional sewer improvements.
Contractors have built a new aeration basin, which is designed to inject air into wastewater to promote biodegradation of pollutants, and are planning, in the next nine months, to construct two final clarifier tanks, used to remove solid waste, and an ultraviolet disinfectant building, Boysen said.