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From the city: Wastewater pond odor remains 'No. 1 problem' facing Perham Public Works

The city of Perham continues to try new techniques and chemicals to reduce the odor emitting from the wastewater treatment ponds. 

In April, a chemical injection process was started at the ponds.  Initially, there appeared to be some improvement, but one of the ponds has reverted back to an undesirable state. 

To remedy the situation, the city has doubled the treatment to this pond. Increasing chemical levels will be considered if no improvement is evident. 

Public Works is also working on other fronts to combat this issue.  They're looking at increasing the number of surface aerators on the malfunctioning pond by either transferring our existing aerators from the other pond to this one, borrowing from neighboring industries and/or cities, or by renting equipment. 

Increasing oxygen flow to the pond is critical to remedy the problem. Just as important, the city continues to work with our industries to improve their pretreatments.  Enlarging an industry's pretreatment capacity and chemical injection at another one of our industries are just two steps that are being implemented to assist in a comprehensive solution.

Samples from the wastewater ponds are also being analyzed to determine the water's composition; the goal is to identify problem sources and other treatment options. 

This issue is the No. 1 problem facing Public Works, and the staff continues to try and look for new ways to remedy the problem.  

The long-term solution to this problem is the expansion project scheduled to start this fall. The project will replace the aeration equipment and will greatly increase its treatment efficiency and capability. 

In talking with our funding partners at the U.S. Economic Development Administration, our paperwork is still being reviewed by their legal staff.  In the meantime, we are finalizing our design with the city's engineering consultants so that we are ready to go to bid once approval is received. 

There is no definitive schedule at this time, but we are doing everything we can to move it along.