The University Area Joint Authority intends to spend about $10 million on a project to address the odor wafting from its wastewater treatment facility.
The odor has been a problem for several years, and an odor management study was authorized in 2015.
The “odor problem exists well beyond the boundaries of the residential areas that have sprung up nearby UAJA,” Eric Bernier, College Township councilman, said at the Centre Region Council of Governments General Forum meeting Monday night.
There are a lot of nonresidential destinations, like the Nittany Mall or Walmart, that are affected by this, too, he said.
The results of the odor control study indicated that the “biggest” odor contributors on the facility were a result of the biofilter, which is currently working to try to reduce odors associated with the compost facility, and the dewatering facility, said Ben Burns, of Herbert, Rowland & Grubic Inc.
A series of more than a dozen options were identified and evaluated, Burns said, and the option that was ultimately chosen involves combined treatment of ventilated air from the composting and dewatering buildings through an inorganic media biofilter.
The odor control facility will reduce the odor by 90 to 95 percent, Burns said.
UAJA Executive Director Cory Miller said the project is scheduled to go up for bid soon.
After a 60-day bidding phase, construction is expected to begin in April and wrap after a year.
Miller said sewer authority rate payers will fund the project, but a rate increase won’t be necessary to do so. (He noted that an inflationary rate increase is likely in 2019.)
The costs incurred through design and permitting are $462,425 ($66,425 of that is for the odor control study).
The estimated construction cost for the facility is $9.8 million, while consulting services add another $207,000.