Residents are complaining of stinky odour coming from sewer pipes in Bonnie Doon and Old Strathcona.
John Lucas / Edmonton Journal
An updated sewage and odour reduction strategy, approved by city council’s utility committee on Friday, aims to take the next step towards mitigating sewage odours that have reduced quality of life for many residents in eight Edmonton “hot spots” and beyond for years.Epcor, the city-owned public utility provider, is proposing a $217.3-million plan to immediately reduce odour intensity in hot spot areas Steinhauer and Duggan by 2020 and to target consistent, dynamic and emerging odour areas by 2025. It also aims to permanently reduce odours across the city by 2031.A previous plan submitted last fall focused on controlling and treating sewer gas releases in Edmonton at an estimated cost of up to $460 million.“This (plan) is … music to my nose,” Ward 10 Coun. Michael Walters said during committee on Friday. When door-knocking for his first campaign in 2013, odour felt like the only issue he heard about from residents in those areas.Residents in Duggan, Steinhauer and Bonnie Doon, among other areas, have been dealing with pungent odours — caused by the release of hydrogen sulphide gas from sewage and wastewater — for more than two decades. In the last 10 years alone, over 10,000 instances of sewage odour have been reported to the city, said Epcor.“It’s literally in (residents’) faces and up their noses,” Walters said in an interview Friday, “and preventing them from enjoying their community, their own properties and their own backyards the way most people in Edmonton get to.”Further community consultations done by Epcor since October found that half of residents in these hot spot areas say odours have negatively impacted their quality of life, and 80 per cent of residents want to see them eliminated in the next five years.The new plan is now geared towards preventing the creation of hydrogen sulphide — which can corrode sewage pipes, thus increasing odour release — and building access to over 80 kilometres of sewage trunk lines that Epcor currently doesn’t have access to inspect or monitor. This means ensuring water flows more quickly to decrease gas production in stagnant water and creating bypasses to prevent the gas-releasing pressure created by “drops” between different levels of underground pipes.“(The plan is) as clear of an answer as I’ve ever had on this issue,” said Walters.‘We finally figured it out’Epcor stressed that constant monitoring and adjustment of the system is essential to ensure the problem doesn’t disappear in one area to only pop up in another.“Odours within different areas have distinct causes and require a different mix of solutions,” reads the plan.To fund the strategy, Epcor plans to ask council later this year to approve a non-routine adjustment to prices beginning in January 2020, which is estimated to cost the average consumer $1.50 per month from 2020 to 2026. Most residents consulted were not willing to pay more for the issue to be resolved, but four in 10 were willing to pay a “modest” amount for the project.“People don’t care how we do it, they just care that we do it and when we do it. So I think that’s what matters, that we finally figured it out,” said Walters. “This is an issue that I feel is very valuable and worth the money.”The increase would start at $0.58 per month in 2020 and increase to $0.90 the year after if a future rate filing from Epcor is approved. Price adjustments after 2022 until 2026 would need to be approved by council at a future firstname.lastname@example.org/moirawytonRelated