City addressing smelly issue at wastewater facility

WICHITA, Kan. — It’s a problem that’s plagued South Wichita for years. “At first … we have a field next to us so we thought maybe it was the cows next to us or something like that,” said Josh Johnson, “but then eventually it starts to smell like a septic tank.”

The problem is the stench from the city’s largest wastewater treatment facility located next door, and it’s not just effecting the neighborhoods nearby.

“On really windy days you can smell it all the way past 55th and Broadway,” Johnson said. “Past 84th and Hydraulic and that’s 5 miles south of us, so if you have a north wind, it’ll carry.”

The city has heard the concerns and now they’re taking action.

“There’s actually over a million dollars worth of upgrades that we’re going to be doing at that plant to help with that odor,” said city councilmember James Clendenin, “and a lot of this was driven by citizen complaints.”

The first part of the project involves treating the problem when it’s still in the sewer, but the second helps at the wastewater facility.

“We are going to be adding some different chemicals to help with the odors but also there’s going to be a new biofilter that’s going to be built and put in,” said Clendenin.

“We’re taking proposals on those now, “ said director of public works, Alan King. “We’ll be bringing those to council probably in a couple of weeks or so for their approval to start construction on those projects.”

And even though city officials say it won’t completely end the problem of the smell, it will significantly help the quality of life which is something everyone can celebrate.

“This neighborhood is a great neighborhood to be in, it’s mature trees and it’s great neighbors the only downfall is that we’re so close to the treatment plant,” Johnson said. “If they can do something about it then that would just make this neighborhood even better.”

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