Those who’ve noticed a stink in downtown Oak Harbor need not despair.
It’s a temporary problem.
City officials explained that the odor is emanating from the new sewage treatment plant as workers work to perfect the biosolids dryer operations.
“Facility operators and technicians are working to eliminate the odors now and in the future,” a city press release states.
The giant belt dryer is the last piece of the sewage treatment puzzle to be installed.
The City Council opted to include the high-tech, $14.5-million dryer as part of the project because it will turn the treated biosolids into an odor-free product — with the consistency of Cheetos — that can be used to enhance and build soil.
The machine sends air through a system of pipes to heat and dry the biosolids, which also reduces the amount of material that will end up in a landfill.
City officials said the dried stuff will be marketed to nurseries or other businesses for use in gardens or fields.
Smell has been an important consideration for city leaders when it comes to the sewage treatment plant, which is on the edge of Windjammer Park, near downtown.
The council approved a $4.5-million odor-control system, with activated carbon filtration and a complex of fans that is supposed to send the stink to the high heavens.
The council also authorized the staff to build a $32,000 poop shed to keep the dried material safe and dry before its final destination.
According to the city, operators will continue to monitor and adjust the dryer after complete installation to prevent odor.