While the Cedar Rapids Water Pollution Control Facility works to control odor through several methods, several factors, including flood repairs, general repairs and fall weather, have all contributed to the potential for offsite odors from the facility.
The Cedar Rapids Water Pollution Control Facility was heavily damaged during the Flood of 2008. While the facility was able to get up and running most processes just 12 weeks after the flood, the need for additional repairs to some processes still continues. Currently, the incinerator, a key odor control process, was shut down for additional flood repairs on September 1st. The repairs to the incinerator are estimated to take 4-5 months and include:
Repairing safety systems
Replacing power & process control system components
Replacing key operational fans
Replacing burners, piping and controls
Repairing air pollution control components
While the incinerator is shut down, biosolids generated from the treatment process must be stored onsite until disposal, which may increase the amount of odor experienced by the community.
Non-flood Related Repairs
Also at this time, one of four secondary biological treatment processes is shut down while a new dome is placed on the structure. While this part of the treatment process is shut down, it can create more stress on the remaining process components reducing the effectiveness of available odor control options for this stage of the treatment process.
Fall Weather Conditions
Fall weather can produce what is known as inversion conditions where cool air at night ‘traps’ ground level emissions of all types, including odor or smoke from wood burning. Evening and nighttime inversion conditions limit the normal dilution and dispersal of odors or other emissions like smoke from wood burning. If residents are noticing these odors more at night than during the day, it is likely due to inversion conditions.