SA Water is asking people in Whyalla to help with the detection of sewer-like odour in the area, as part of its ongoing program to monitor and manage odour sources within its sewer system.
Odour can come from the local wastewater treatment plant or underground sewer network, and is often influenced by hot weather, changing wind conditions and certain operational activities.
SA Water’s Senior Manager of Production and Treatment Lisa Hannant said proactive measures by local crews and more favourable weather conditions have helped to manage odour in recent months, but feedback from the community will assist with long-term approaches.
“It’s normal and in some cases necessary to have some odour coming from sewer infrastructure, but our aim is to ensure it’s not noticeable to the community,” Lisa said.
“In the lead-up to summer, we implemented a range of initiatives to minimise odour, including installing new aeration systems at the Whyalla Wastewater Treatment Plant, using sensors to track odour movement and gas samplers to identify odour levels, and applying chemical solutions to neutralise odour in the sewer network.
“One of the main activities that can omit higher levels of odour is our treatment of wastewater sludge in lagoons at the treatment plant.
“Fine sediment that remains suspended in the water after primary wastewater treatment stages settles at the bottom of the lagoons to form a sludge, which is then periodically removed to maintain the lagoons’ holding capacity and minimise the potential for odour to develop.
“Prolonged hot weather can cause rapid evaporation rates, which reduces the amount of water in the lagoons, potentially increasing the risk of odour. We can help mitigate this by circulating water between the lagoons.”
SA Water regularly monitors odour in Whyalla, however information from the community will help to refine this work and enable more strategic odour management.
“There are many sources both inside and outside the house that can produce odour, so we encourage you to have a proper sniff to assess where the smell might be coming from, and if it smells like sewer, give us a call on 1300 SA WATER and share as much detail as you can, including time and location,” Lisa said.
“We unfortunately won’t be much help with things like smelly bins or pets, but if the odour is related to our sewer system, your feedback will help us map any trends and work on solutions.”
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