Castlegar City Council Talks Odor Complaints, Ongoing Improvements


One listed item as part of a five-year financial plan amendment last week, May 15th, led to another lengthy sewage treatment plant discussion for Castlegar City Council.

Staff sought $50,000 for detailed design and tendering to install geotubes to store smelly bio-solids at the facility, part of efforts to minimize an odor complained about by some community members. The estimated costs for the supply and installation of a Geotube system are around $386,000.

Director of Municipal Services Chris Hallam tells Councillors that the City is working towards an odorless Castlegar:

“There’s no one thing that is causing the odors, it’s a multitude of things and then on every given day with seasonal things, things can kind of ramp up. But what we’re focusing on is managing bio-solids and mitigating odors coming from bio-solids and we believe the geotube is going to help with that because they’re going to be contained in those systems.”

This is just one ongoing fix for odor complaints but Hallam adds that multiple avenues are being pursued.

Councillor Cherryl MacLeod was keen to expedite the process:

“I think that those residents would really like us to just be able to move forward. Is there any way to give you the ability as council to just go ahead and get the work done? Like to put the RFP out right away as opposed to having to come back and check with us? I’m just worried about the timelines because once we get to July and August we only meet once a month and I would hate for this to drag out any longer than it already has.”

Staff now has approval to get the ball rolling earlier than laid out in the aforementioned agenda item.

A report is anticipated for June 5th to approve funding options for construction, supply and installation costs.

This comes just two weeks after another City Council discussion on sewage smells, particularly in the Woodland Park area.

Operations Manager Samuel Shine says infrastructure upgrades to the sewage treatment plant are being investigated, but that's not all:

“Further down the road we’d like to look into our bylaws and what not because there’s nothing at the moment that mandates the installation of grease traps at any of the commercial entities that are cooking and what not, so that will be something down the road as well that we can look at.”

“It sounds like that’s where a good chunk of the odors come from is actually not the sewage piece, it’s the grease piece that people are putting down the drains….” says Mayor Maria McFaddin

Councillors commended the patience of residents that have complained about foul odors and aim to find a fix.