What's that smell?If driving down North Service Drive, between Bench Street and Withers Harbor Drive, your nose might detect a not altogether faint odor. The odor might in fact be rather strong and pungent.
By: Jon Swedien, The Republican Eagle
If driving down North Service Drive, between Bench Street and Withers Harbor Drive, your nose might detect a not altogether faint odor. The odor might in fact be rather strong and pungent.
While the situation is stinky, commuters shouldn't worry about it being a danger, say Red Wing Public Works officials.
A siphon in the nearby sewer system -- a dip in the sewer pipe -- creates the stink. Water pools in the siphon and sits, creating pressure that allows the sewer water to flow under and past a nearby creek. This system is employed because much of Red Wing's sewer system utilizes gravity to push water to the city's 10 lift stations.
"It's kind of a daily, weekly thing, that goes back and forth," Operations Foreman Jerry Plein said of the smell. The strength of the stench depends on sewer flows and the contents of the sewage, Red Wing Public Works Director Rick Moskwa wrote in an e-mail to the R-E.
Plein said the stench is created when oils, fats and grease in the sewer water break down. Because they sit in the siphon they have more time to break down and that's why commuters can smell them as they drive along North Service Drive.
Plein said many cities struggle with similar problems.
Public works crews perform maintenance work on that part of the sewer system weekly and they add chemicals to the sewage in an effort to reduce the smell, Plein said.
"We're trying a bunch of different stuff to take care of the smell," Plein said. "We just want everyone to know we're trying to do something."