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RWSA Working to Reduce Odor from Wafting into Charlottesville Neighborhoods

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Crews working on an odor control project at the Moores Creek Advanced Water Resource Recovery Facility Crews working on an odor control project at the Moores Creek Advanced Water Resource Recovery Facility
Odor control project at the Moores Creek Advanced Water Resource Recovery Facility Odor control project at the Moores Creek Advanced Water Resource Recovery Facility
John Frazee John Frazee
Teri Kent Teri Kent
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority (RWSA) is putting the lid down on its open-air sewage treatment facility to prevent the foul smell from drifting to nearby neighborhoods.

“At its worst, it's that classic backed-up toilet smell,” said John Frazee, president of the Woolen Mills Neighborhood Association.

That sewage scent from the Moores Creek Advanced Water Resource Recovery Facility has plagued the Woolen Mills neighborhood for years.

“We'd get it 10, 12, 15 times a year where it would be really really smelly and we'd have to stay indoors,” Frazee said.

The RWSA is a year into the construction of a $9.8 million odor control project. The goal of the project is to keep the sewage stench inside the facility's fence-line.

“Really this project has primarily been about covering the odors,” said RWSA Communications Manager Teri Kent.

Cranes are lifting large pipes into place at the facility. Sewage will flow through those pipes instead of pooling in the open-air basin. A separate foul-odor pipe will capture the stench from the sewage and carry it to an odor scrubber to clean the air.

“Imagine a huge vacuum that's going to suck up the smelly air and clean it,” Kent said.

Aluminum lids now cover the two primary clarifiers, where floating sewage and solids separate out from the waste water.

“This project has been well-studied, well-informed, so we really hope it will be the one shot, the full shot at eradicating odors,” said Kent.

“It's certainly not as bad as it has been. We do notice it as we get closer, but really I think they've done a bunch of work that has had a good effect so far,” Frazee said “Now, it's more of a, perhaps, distant whiff of a porta-john.”

“I've smelled it a lot in the past. I haven't smelt it that much recently, though. It's been better,” said Linden Town Lofts resident George Andrews.

Air scrubber should be in service by the end of summer, while the RWSA expects to finish the entire odor control project in early 2018.