Good news, Perham: Pond smell seems to be subsiding
A more aggressive chemical treatment regimen at Perham's wastewater ponds seems to be doing the trick - the strong stench that has marred the south side of town all spring has noticeably lessened in the last couple of weeks.
The city called a special meeting earlier this month to address the smell, which has been a source of complaints to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. City leaders decided then to ramp up their efforts to put a permanent end to the persistent odor.
"The odor's gotten better," according to Public Works Director Merle Meece. "It's a lot fainter than it used to be."
Meece, who lives on the south side of town himself, said that while some odor is still evident at times, it's not as strong or as prevalent. Public Works hasn't heard any new complaints for a while, he said, and the ponds are even looking better, returning to their typical coloring.
Meece said the city has been adding "a lot" of chemicals into the ponds to improve aeration. Six to eight hundred pounds of sodium nitrate has been added daily, while 55 gallon drums of hydrogen peroxide are being dumped in on a schedule - 15 drums one day, 32 a couple of days later. Some "bio bugs" have also been added, which may help provide longer-lasting odor control.
"We're putting a bit of money into this, trying to solve the problem," Meece said. "We've probably spent about $40,000 on it this spring."
There are no plans to quit the fight any time soon, though exact chemical treatment amounts may vary. Meece said the ponds' dissolved oxygen levels still aren't quite where they should be, and the city will continue to work with the MPCA to get things back on track.