By Timothy Cox
ROCKFORD -- The foul odors from the village's wastewater treatment plant have been brought under control -- for now.
By adding some aeration equipment and working closely with the local industry believe to be contributing to the problem, the situation has been brought under control, Village Administrator Jeff Long said. An excess of organic material was making its way into the sewer system, giving the plant more load in the effluent than it was designed to handle. The result was a stench that could often be detected throughout a large portion of town that resulted in numerous complaints.
"We are odor-free," Long happily reported this week.
EPA and village officials will continue a round of testing and research to keep a handle on the situation. EPA officials were in town Wednesday and are satisfied with the current solution, Long said.
The Fremont Co., the ketchup maker believed to be the reason for the town's sewer woes, has done its share to help, Long said. The company did an internal audit and then implemented steps to reduce the amount of food waste reaching the sewage system. Too much organic waste robs the sewage treatment system of the air it needs to function properly.
"We're still bringing in stronger sewage than the plant is designed for, but we have seen a link" between Fremont's action and the improvement of the problem, Long said. "It's probably not a forever thing. We're going to continue with the research."
Last month, Long suggested a permanent fix at the plant could run at least $200,000. Several thousand dollars already has been spent the past two years on treatment chemicals and additional aeration equipment to bring the odor problem under control.
Fremont already pays a $600 monthly surcharge on its utilities to account for its sewage needs.
Beer idea falls flat
ROCKFORD -- There will be no beer at the village's annual Community Days celebration set for June 17-19.
Festival organizers had hoped to make beer sales available at Shanes Park to spice up the festival, which was called lackluster by some last year. The Community Days steering committee had been working with the local Eagles lodge to run the alcohol sales, but the issue fell through.
A couple of village officials said festival organizers became frustrated with the process to get the issue OK'd. Most council members at the May 17 council meeting seemed to support the idea, although no vote was taken. Insurance and liability issues had created some confusion.
The festival, which takes place at Shanes Park, will include food, games, a pageant for young girls and boys, a 5K race and a poker tournament among other activities.
-- Timothy Cox