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Sewer district leaving more than a bad impression for nearby residents

A view of South Davis Sewer District. Courtesy of KSL TV

NORTH SALT LAKE CITY, Utah  —  Neighborhoods in North Salt Lake have been complaining about the overwhelming smell of sewage wafting in from Davis County since last fall. Now the city has issued a Notice of Violation to the South Davis Sewer District in hopes of getting rid of the stench.

The North Salt Lake City manager Ken Leetham talked with KSL TV saying that its frustrating for everyone involved.

“It’s very frustrating, and it really is an issue that no resident should have to live with, and I know the sewer district feels the same way.” 

The city issued its notice against the South Davis Sewer District in order to hopefully bring a resolution to a problem that just frankly stinks for anyone living nearby.

The complaints from residents

Leetham has fielded many complaints from residents, the odors have generally been present east of Legacy Parkway, and west of Redwood Road, north of Center Street. Many of the complaints have come in the past few days. 

Some residents say that the smell of a sewer is so bad at times that you can almost taste it. One resident says that her family can tell when they are getting near her home because of the now-familiar unpleasant smell. 

What the notice can do

The notice that was issued Monday can fine the water district $100 dollars a day, a move the City of North Salt Lake doesn’t want to take. 

“We hope it doesn’t get to that point, and the sewer district has given us their commitment that they’re going to get it resolved,” Leetham said.

South Davis Sewer District general manager Dal Wayment says they have already spent in excess of $100,000 trying to mitigate the unpleasant odors coming from the treatment plant and thinks it could take tens to hundreds of thousands more to actually resolve the issue. 

Wayment went on to say that, “The cost isn’t the issue… this is a direct impact on people’s lives. This is a real quality of life issue. The people have been very patient. I’m surprised they haven’t been down here with torches and pitchforks, and so we need to get it solved and we want to get it solved, so we will spend what it takes.”

What is causing the bad odor?

The administrator says it’s a problem of drying food waste as well as a toxic discharge that is disrupting the system. The two issues happening at the same time is the perfect brew for a real stinky situation.

What is being done about the problem?

Wayment says they’ve brought in a major consulting firm to help with the situation.

“The lead engineer there is literally a, certainly nationally, if not a world-recognized authority on anaerobic digesters, and he hasn’t run into it before,” he says.

The bottom line, the residents hope a solution can be found easier than their stinky neighborhood and soon.