Cary News

Project to squelch sewer smell in north Cary

A million-dollar upgrade will keep sewage odors at bay in north Cary. The North Cary Water Reclamation Facility is one of the town’s largest wastewater facilities and, according to a neighbor, crinkles the occasional nose.

“Depending on which way the wind blows, yes, there is some odor that comes from the plant,” said Bill Maxwell, who lives less than a half mile from the facility.

The town’s new project will add a “biofiltration” stage to the facility’s existing odor processing system. When the $946,000 job is finished, teams of microorganisms will break down the smells that escape from the plant, which is at the “downstream end of the collection system,” according to Public Works Director Steve Brown.

The facility, which sits just northwest of N. Harrison Avenue and Weston Parkway, brings in waste from a large area, then pumps about 6.5 million gallons of it to a treatment facility each day. The station sits between Interstate 40, Weston Parkway and an Embassy Suites, with residential neighborhoods and apartments to its south; town staff also anticipate more housing development in the area.

The town decided to replace and upgrade the system because it’s aging out after 15 years, not because of any complaints, which have been rare, Brown said.

“When it’s approaching the time when it won’t be able to do its job, we want to be very proactive – rather than wait for failure, get a new system in place,” Brown said. The town already widely uses the biofiltration technology, and has found that “the two-stage approach is extremely effective,” Brown said. A town report states that the installation should eliminate off-site odors.

Maxwell, the neighbor, said he only occasionally smells the plant, more frequently in the winter. He praised the town’s responsiveness to local complaints.

“The town of Cary has really tried to be very accommodating. They’ve tried to be very prompt,” said Maxwell, whose wife is chair of the Wessex neighborhood homeowners’ association.

The town awarded the construction contract for the new filters to Gilbert Engineering Company last week. In addition to the million-dollar build price, the town has spent about $350,000 to design the upgrade. Construction is scheduled to start this summer and conclude next spring.