Brawley beef plant liaison expects the foul wastewater odors to cease by end of month

April 24, 2002|By DARREN SIMON

Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — Work on the Brawley Beef plant's wastewater treatment facility is nearing completion, and this city's liaison to the facility said any odors should cease by the month's end.

However, work expected on one of three wastewater ponds at the plant could stir up odors today, said the liaison, Brawley resident Tom DuBose.

DuBose today gave an update on the wastewater issues, stating by April 30 the work on all three wastewater ponds is expected to be finished.


Already the lead pond has been covered with a thick liner and a flame that, according to Brawley Beef officials, will burn off any odor-causing fumes, should be ignited in the next week.

Today plant officials are expected to turn on a permanent aerator device in pond 2. DuBose said the device will stir up the water and for a short time that could make odors noticeable.

DuBose said devices known as Solar Bees, which also create motion in the water, will be moved from the first and second ponds and permanently located in the third. That movement again could stir up some smell.

However, DuBose said such odors should be short-lived and by the month's end the smells should no longer be an issue.

The plant is continuing to use hydrogen peroxide to cover odors, but DuBose said as work on the ponds is completed such chemicals should no longer be necessary.

"At the end of the day we should not have to use any chemicals," DuBose said, adding bacteria in the ponds coupled with the aeration devices, the cover on the first pond and the flame will work to prevent the creation of odors.

Officials with the county Air Pollution Control District, which issued an abatement order against Brawley Beef in connection with the odors, have been monitoring progress on the wastewater ponds weekly.

Steve Birdsall, who heads the APCD, said the beef plant is ahead of schedule in meeting the stipulations of the order.

He said county officials expect the odor from the ponds will be addressed by the month's end. However, he said the county will continue to monitor the situation at the beef plant.

He added the APCD suspects the odors are coming from the ponds, but if it is found there are odors from some other section of the plant, Brawley Beef officials will need to address that.

Birdsall said the county wants to work with Brawley Beef's owners to address any such issues.

The plant has been in operation for about five months and some residents who live closest to the facility have voiced concern about the odors. They have raised questions as to whether the smells will be permanent. If so, they have said the city should not have allowed the beef plant to be built so close to homes.

Residential streets in the northeast section of the city are visible from the beef plant.

Greg Beck, president and chief operating officer for Brawley Beef, has attempted to assure residents the odors will not be a permanent issue.

He has said it serves the interests of the plant to be a good neighbor and plant officials are working as fast as possible to resolve the matter.

He has said by April 30 people should no longer notice any odors from the facility.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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