CROCKETT, Calif. (KRON) — A nasty new smell has taken over around Crockett, and residents are not happy with the addition.
On Tuesday groups of demonstrators gathered outside of C&H Sugar to protest the company’s handling of the wastewater plant. The demonstrators say the smell of the wastewater plant has been “like defecation” for nearly two months. Contra Costa Health Services states that the smell is a result of a ‘weeks -long operational issue at the plant.’
Wednesday morning C& H Sugar co. announced that Inframark, the operator of the Joint Treatment Plant in Crockett, is planning to clean more than 1,300 air diffusers inside of the the three wastewater treatment reactors. According to C&H, the diffusers provide oxygen that is needed by microorganisms in the wastewater that breaks down sewage. The reactor will be put back in operation with the new diffusers and added microorganisms. Then the air diffusers in the remaining two treatment reactors will be cleaned.
C&H states that Inframark will also be upgrading the blowers that provide oxygen to the diffusers with newer, larger motors which will increase aeration. C&H has also hired a third-party expert to evaluate how effective the operations are.
“Inframark expects the odor to cease within seven to 10 days as microorganisms have time to digest. Residents should notice odors dissipating sooner,” C&H tells KRON4.
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Stefanie Tavis, a mother and Crockett resident, joined the demonstrations on Tuesday, and was happy to hear about Inframark’s plan to upgrade the wastewater plant and handle the smell.
“What we wanted as a community was for someone to take some responsibility and let us know what was going on…It was absolutely unhealthy and it had gone on far too long,” she said. Tavis tells KRON4 she is still upset that C&H hasn’t issued an apology to the people directly impacted by this issue.
Last week, residents who live or work near the Crockett Wastewater Treatment Plant were advised to take precautions because of elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide in the air. Contra Costa County Health Services (CCH) recommended people take steps to reduce exposure as it could lead to headaches, nausea and irritated eyes. As of Wednesday, that warning is still in effect.
Residents in the area had been complaining of a terrible smell for some time, which lead to an investigation by Bay Area Air Quality Management District. According to CCH, hydrogen sulfide commonly smells like rotten eggs, but just smelling it is “not necessarily an indicator that levels of the chemical in the air are high enough to pose a risk to health.”