Water treatment odor discussed in Warden

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CBH Columbia Basin Herald Local News

WARDEN - Odors associated with the treatment of industrial wastewater in Warden could have an effect on how visitors and citizens alike see the town.

Jack Calder, of OB-3 Resource Management, gave an update on wastewater treatment efforts during the Warden Development Council meeting Wednesday.

OB-3 is responsible for operating and maintaining Warden's industrial wastewater facility. Wastewater from three processors currently is pumped to a farm in Adams County.

WDC President Susie Barr said the smell that comes with processing wastewater from nearby plants is affecting Warden residents and visitors.

"The more work that they do to break wastewater down, the more smell you get," Barr said.

Barr said that when the wind is just right, the smell from the wastewater operations can be smelled all over town. She said visitors and residents comment on the strong stench.

"We don't want Warden to be known for that smell," she said.

The current system began operating in November 2009, Calder said. Wasterwater is treated, and sent through a seven-mile pipeline to a farm in Adams County.

The farm then uses the sediment as fertilizer.

"We're doing everything we can to get as much of that sediment out of there as we can," said Calder.

He said they clean out the holding ponds twice a year, to stop a lot of the smell from coming out.

Calder said studies are being done to see what direction the management company should take for future upgrades.

Calder said the group has been looking at several other options for the future of their wastewater processing. Although no agreements or decisions have been made yet, he said they are looking closely at the possibility of using an anaerobic digester.

Calder said that other processors in the area, mainly potato processors, use digesters to break down their wastewater.

"It would help with odors," he said. "And it would do away with the ponds, except for one."

Calder said the digester would be just over 20 feet deep, and the gas captured could be sent back to the plants to help power some of their operations.

Overall, Barr said that local businesses are happy with the progress so far, and are supportive of the group's efforts to eliminate odor problems.

"They're working really hard on reducing that smell," Barr said.

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