Odour from county's wastewater treatment plant a concern for residents

Harry Sullivan hsullivan@trurodaily.com
Published on June 17, 2014

CENTRAL ONSLOW - Among the grand scheme of things it may not register too highly.

But the odour issues that Tom Rudolph and his neighbours must contend with are nonetheless disturbing.

"It's like living over an open sewer," the Central Onslow resident said, of the stench that wafts across the Minas Basin from the outflow pipe of Colchester County's wastewater treatment plant in Lower Truro.

And hanging clothes out on the line does not produce the type of smell one normally associates with that drying method.

"It can and does get in the clothes," he said. "Generally it's an easterly or south easterly breeze will bring it across," he said, while looking across the bay from his backyard.

"I just picked up a little whiff there right now," he said, as the stink began to roll through.

The odour issues have long plagued residents on both sides of the bay for years but residents had hoped $14-milllion in upgrades to the facility of recent years would change that.

"We thought that the upgrades to the plant on the other side of the river would result in some improvement but it hasn't," Rudolph said. "I know good people are working at it but we've got to keep moving on it. If there's stuff going in to the system that shouldn't be or it needs to be metered in on a scheduled basis, let's look at that."

While acknowledging that "among the world problems it isn't the end of the world," Rudolph said, for him, "the straw that broke the camel's back" occurred a few years ago while hosting a post-funeral reception in his home.

"It was in August and we had to close all the doors and windows and it was sort of embarrassing."

Although plans are in the works between the County of Colchester and the Town of Truro to monitor the situation to determine the precise source of the odours, Rudolph said residents are still waiting for something to happen.

He has heard officials say that the smell is partly to blame on humidity but that was not the case when they began this year on June 4, which is earlier than normal, he said.

And while Rudolph, who has lived on his property for about 14 years, said he has heard promises that the municipality is committed to dealing with the problem, he has yet to see any noticeable effect of those efforts.

"There has to be political will to support the regulations and enforce whatever staff is out there looking and seeing," he said. "And you have to be reasonable about these things and a balance, I realize that. But, in the end, steady improvement has to be the name of the game.

"If it's not corrected it will eventually affect property values."