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Odor concerns raised at port district meeting

With a bid opening for the Port of Sunnyside’s anaerobic digester just days away, a concern was raised last night about odors from the port’s industrial wastewater treatment plant on Midvale Road.

At Monday night’s Port of Sunnyside commissioners’ meeting, Greg Van De Graaf expressed concern that odors from the plant will increase with expansion of the wastewater facility.

“I want to make sure it doesn’t get any worse,” Van De Graaf said of what he feels is an ongoing odor issue with the plant.

The $7 million digester project is expected to double the capacity of the facility’s sequencing batch reactors, which use oxygen to help treat wastewater.

Contractor bids for digester construction are due next week and port commissioners may award the bid as soon as April 7.

However, Commissioner Jeff Matson assured Van De Graaf there will be less output to a lagoon the port uses for the wastewater.

Port of Sunnyside engineer Bob Farrell noted output to the lagoon will be reduced by 30 to 50 percent when the enclosed digester is up and running.

“The characteristics of the odor will change,” said Jay Hester, the port’s executive director.

Van De Graaf then asked if that means the odor will change for the better.

“I would hope so,” said Hester.

Commissioner Arnold Martin added that the port’s goal is to improve every aspect of its treatment plant.

“Our intention is to make the whole system better,” he said.

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