WATERVILLE -- There's a problem in Waterville that quite a few people think just plain stinks. They've told News 11 it has to do with the wastewater treatment plant giving off foul odors in their neighborhoods, and other concerns.
The plant serves places like Waterville, Whitehouse and Sylvania. About $17.5 million are going into making this plant handle more water and if that happens more wastewater will be discharged into the Maumee River. "We're just overwhelmed at times with the stench of the plant," said 67 year-old Ron Blaser who lives near the plant.
Blaser said it's bad now and if the new expansion gets a permit to do more, "Our quality of life will go down further than it is now. It's worrisome. It's a health issue as well as extremely bothersome," Blaser added.
Blaser and about two dozen other people concerned with the odor and other complaints came to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency hearing in Waterville Tuesday night. "I think I've heard every excuse there is why we have an odor today," said concerned resident George Keller. "There is a great deal of foam coming out of the wastewater treatment plant," claimed Ginger Safford.
EPA rep Naajy Abdullah addressed her concern about the foam. "It's not necessarily an indication of more pollution," Abdullah said.
People did get some answers including why the plant has to be careful with the amount of chemical it uses to cut back on the odors. "If you dump too much in you damage the treatment process," said Kevin Allard from the plant. And people got some reassurances from those who are for the plant additions. "I know there are odors from the treatment plant," said Lucas County Sanitary Engineer Jim Shaw. "In this expansion, we are making every effort to address those odors," he added.
However, the people who live here said they want the EPA to know it's been tough to make the situation better. "Sometimes it's very, very hard to get it done," said Blaser.
Abdullah said he will talk with the plant within the week to work on the odor and foam problems. Shaw said the expansion will have new filters to help control the odors. He told the crowd the plant doesn't want to harm the river in any way.
The EPA announced there will be more pollution poured into the river, but it will still fall within state guidelines. The EPA will continue taking comments from northwest Ohioans until March 29th. It could take months before the agency decides on whether or not to approve the permit for water discharge from the plant.
Updated by AEB