Residents of Aikahi ParkBy Gordon Y.K. Pang
talk stink about the nearby
Rotten egg-like smells from the Kailua Wastewater Treatment Plant aren't being snuffed out quickly enough for Aikahi Park residents.
Myrna Junk, who lives across the street in the Aikahi Gardens townhouse complex, said she and her children sometimes suffer from skin burns and irritation on their faces and mouths.Junk said the symptoms seem to occur when plant workers are doing construction or cleaning.
There's no proof that her family's ailments are caused by the odors, but that's of little comfort to her."We never made the connection at first," she said. "Everyone knows about the odor, but they don't know the extent of it."
Environmental Services Director Kenn Sprague has told the City Council Budget and Public Works Committee that some improvements have been made and other help is on the way after an informal notice of violation was issued by the state Department of Health last October for exceeding hydrogen sulfide emissions.
Sprague said since January the plant has recorded 23 times it has exceeded the allowable 3 parts per million of hydrogen sulfide particles at the Calvert odor-control unit on the north end of the plant.
The Calvert unit, which is supposed to treat foul air coming from the de-watering building, is the main source of odor problems, Sprague said.
The city recently solicited proposals for modification and upgrade of the unit, Sprague said. The administration has appropriated $3 million in the upcoming budget for the project.
As a short-term solution, the city has stopped using sodium hypochlorite in the Calvert unit, thus diminishing the amount of hydrogen sulfide produced, he said.
A deodorizer also is being used to mask the smell, but it does not eliminate hydrogen sulfide, Sprague said. The city is exploring using other chemical additions to reduce the odor as well as studying other sources that contribute to the stench.
An interim monitoring plan was put in place in September. Nine stations monitor odors seven days a week.
If hydrogen sulfide concentrations exceed allowable limits, monitoring is initiated at 11 fence-line stations along the perimeter of the plant.
Neighbor Bernice Poole, who has endured the smells for 16 years, said, "Our main concern is, it's an industrial use in a residential neighborhood."
She said neither officials at Aikahi Elementary nor Aikahi Park are told before cleaning is done on the facilities. Cleaning increases the chance of foul odors spreading into the neighborhood.
Nancy Cullen, an Aikahi Gardens resident, said the situation appears to have improved in the last six to eight months where she lives.
"There's been much improvement but it's not gone," Cullen said.