Foul odor not caused by usual suspect, officials say

An odor that assaulted the west end of Sweet Home, around Main and Highway 228, last week was not from the wastewater treatment plant.

The plant was the source of an unpleasant odor for months, ending last year when the city was able to get a filtration system in place to control it.

Last week The New Era received two complaints about a new stink that had developed in the area along west Main Street and city officials placed signs in two locations warning of raw sewage, one around a manhole in the Napa Auto Parts parking lot and the other near Ames Creek on the South Santiam River.

A sewer main underneath Ames Creek runs north at Napa, said Public Works Director Mike Adams. The line sometimes has problems with sewage backing up during rainstorms and overflowing at the manhole.

The city plans to abandon the line, Adams said. He said that will take care of the problem.

When the overflows happen, the city is required to put out warning signs, both at the site and where Ames Creek reaches the river because some of the wastewater may reach the creek.

The city also puts up the sign when the plant overflows during heavy rain events, Adams said.

That problem is being addressed by the ongoing replacement and rehabilitation of sewer lines throughout Sweet Home in an effort to cut down inflow and infiltration, which occurs when rain water enters the sewer system through deteriorated pipes or through cross connections overloading the wastewater treatment plant.

The city was notified of the overflow at 10:15 a.m. on May 24, Adams said. Staff members estimated that about 500 gallons overflowed.

The city used its vactor truck to clear the blockage that caused this overflow, Adams said.