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cityofsedonalogo.gifThe scent of sewage that often hangs in the air on Hwy. 89A near Bristlecone Pines Road, just north of Upper Red Rock Loop Road may soon be gone.

By Susan Johnson

Larson Newspapers

The scent of sewage that often hangs in the air on Hwy. 89A near Bristlecone Pines Road, just north of Upper Red Rock Loop Road may soon be gone.

Sedona City Engineer Charles Mosley is counting on microbes to eliminate the smell that greets drivers, bikers and hikers as they enter the city’s southwestern gateway.

“The wastewater system was designed to accommodate a full build-out of the city,” Mosley said. “At present, there’s inadequate flow to move water through the high point of the collection system and this results in stagnation.”

To date, the city has spent more than $1 million trying to identify and correct the problem and more than $100,000 per year on chemicals to stop the stench.

Growth in the city’s population could eventually correct the problem, because pipes in the area are designed to handle more wastewater than they currently process.

In the meantime, installation of a closed biofiltration system may clean up the city’s air around the area.

Council voted 6-0 at its meeting Tuesday, Feb. 12, approving Mosley’s request to have Woodson Engineering & Surveying to design and build the system for $50,000 and for the city’s public works staff maintain it.

Councilman Ramon Gomez was absent when the vote was taken.

Additional benefits of the new operation are its low

maintenance costs and its positive environmental consequences.

“Annual maintenance costs of the system are expected to be under $5,000,” Mosley said.

The system works by collecting the odoriferous air that wafts out of the nearby manhole and dispersing it through a soil bed populated by naturally-occurring microbes that feed on the compounds causing the smell.

Mosley recently visited the city of Tempe, where two of the same sort of systems were installed to correct odors that he said were far worse than what Sedona experiences.

“It’s been so successful that they’re installing a third biofilter in another location where they’re experiencing problems,” Mosley said.

In a public/private partnership that will be part donation and part monetary consideration, Ben Miller, a principle of the nearby Park Place development, will provide the land for the soil bed.

Mosley estimated that the project requires an area 50 feet by 50 feet, which he said will be planted with grass, trees and natural vegetation.

“The expenditure for this system was within the purchasing range [of the city manager],” Vice Mayor Jerry Frey said. “Why was it brought before the council?”

“We brought it forward because of its high visibility,” City Manager Eric Levitt said.

 

Susan Johnson can be reached at 282-7795, Ext. 129 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 


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