Oroville and county will test ways to eliminate sewer odors

OROVILLE – The Oroville City Council heard a report from the city clerk regarding efforts to eliminate sewer odors emanating from some parts of the Eastlake Sewer System.

Clerk Kathy Jones reported that she, Mayor Chuck Spieth, Superintendent of Public Works Rod Noel and Economic and Community Development Director Chris Branch met with Okanogan County Planning Director Perry Huston and one of the project engineers to discuss the problem. She said two systems were being considered – one that adds more dissolved oxygen to the wastewater through an oxygen generator and another which adds oxygen by introducing chemicals that produce oxygen when they react with the wastewater.

“We have two proposals to consider – Gen Oxy said they could bring up their machinery for a two-week trial for about $5000. If we decide to go with them it would be $25,000 to $35,000 per unit. If we needed a second unit it would be $50,000 to $60,000 total. That’s a lot of up front cost, but there is little maintenance,” said Jones. “The second proposal would use chemicals to treat the problem. With this there is little up front cost, but lots of maintenance. Who pays for it has not been determined. The county commissioners say they want to get this resolved.”

Normally Gen Oxy, the Texas-based company that makes the oxygen generating systems, prefers to do a 60 day test, according to Supt. Noel, but they feel because of the relatively small size of the Eastlake system, they felt they could determine if it works in two weeks.

“Yesterday the county gave the go ahead for the test,” said Branch.

Noel said that Huston’s memo to him said there may be money in the state Public Works Trust Fund to pay for whichever process is chosen.

“With the other system which is by Siemans, you actually add chemicals. They supply the equipment and contract with you to by the chemicals. They are also willing to do trials,” Noel said.

Neil and Debbi Vigus, who have pleaded with the council to address the situation, thanked the city staff for working on it.

“I’d like to say thank you everyone who has worked on this. I hope this will get it fixed,” said Neil Vigus.

“We want to work with the county to solve the problem,” said Noel. “Where the money comes from will have to be worked out. We may have to assess the users out there.”

Branch added, “We hope to come up with a solution that is both affordable and workable.”

Noel then gave an update on the city’s bio-solids project at the wastewater treatment plant. He said the start up for the press is now Monday, June 28.

“It is looking good, pretty impressive. I am looking forward to you all taking a tour,” Noel told the council.

Noel also reported that the city is still trying to get a response from the state Parks and Recreation Department regarding promises the state made when they transferred Osoyoos Lake Veterans State Park to the city.

“We still have not been able to resolve all the equipment issues,” said Noel.

It was suggested that if the regional director for the state parks did not resolve the issues by the end of June that Mayor Spieth attend the next state Parks and Recreation Commission meeting to bring the issues to the their attention.

In addition to equipment issues, some of the vehicles titles have not been transferred to the city and it is not known who is insuring the vehicles.

“I’ll give them until Monday and then start rattling their cage,” said Mayor Spieth.

Kristin Sarmiento has submitted a proposal to lease the concession stand at Oroville’s Veterans Memorial Park. Two other people have made inquiries and it was suggested these other parties be given a chance to submit proposals to the city.

Branch said that Oroville Reman and Reload has petitioned to annex the rest of their property into the city because they are having septic issues and want to connect the rest of their facilities to the city sewer.

“They do not have a big desire to force annexation on their neighbors so the little house on the corner was not included, but the city has the right to change the boundaries of the annexation and I recommend it be changed to include that house as they have city water already,” said Branch, explaining that the city does not want to leave islands of unincorporated areas surrounded by property in the city.

“That would leave just two more islands, the one at the OTID plant and the one northeast of the Cherry Street Bridge,” he said.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He is single with a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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