Wastewater Smell Issues

We have continued to investigate the smells being generated by our wastewater system and are 90% confident that our treatment process at the wastewater treatment lagoons has failed. We believe that cell #2 is the culprit to the smells currently being produced and witnessed throughout the community, and we will be looking at corrective measures over the coming weeks.

We are in contact with the Ministry of Environment as we look to make operational changes to confirm our suspicions, which will require cell #2 to be taken offline, drained, and cleaned. Unfortunately, the odours generated by the treatment cell will continue until we can drain and clean the cell.

The unseasonable high temperatures are not helping the situation either. As the temperature of the wastewater increases, the biological treatment can be negatively impacted, resulting in further odour release.   

This is a significant event that requires consultation and various approvals with the Ministry of Environment and the sourcing of resources to drain and clean the cell. Administration will be doing everything it can to expedite the process and will do what we can to reduce the smells as quickly as possible.  Updates will be provided as we continue to investigate this issue and learn more information, such as timelines for corrective measures.

Cells can fail for many reasons, including extreme temperature changes, increased wastewater influent flow, and changes to chemical composition which all can effect influent quality. Please remember that food waste, chemical waste, and other oils and greases should not be disposed of via the sanitary sewer system, as these materials can cause issues with our collection system and treatment process.

Wastewater treatment is a complex issue, and it is important to note that no system will completely eliminate odours, including switching to a “treatment plant,” which some have advocated for in the past. Further, the cost to construct a full tertiary wastewater treatment plant would be upwards of $40 million plus an approximately $300,000 annual operating cost increase. These processes can fail just as easily as a lagoon system. At this time, the Town does not feel that this is an economical solution to our treatment and odour issues but has and will continue to look at alternative treatment upgrades for our existing lagoon system. But even these alternative upgrades could cost as much as $10 million.

We understand that this is frustrating for everyone, but we want to reassure our community that we are working hard to resolve this issue in a timely manner.

Operational Services
(T) 250.495.6213
(E) pubworks@osoyoos.ca