published Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Whatever happened to ... Chattanooga still using stink blocker as needed in sewers


by Cliff Hightower
Ronald Tucker goes into a manhole to place a deodorizing block to mask sewer smells in this 2010 photo.
Ronald Tucker goes into a manhole to place a deodorizing block to mask sewer smells in this 2010 photo.
Photo by Angela Lewis.

Q. Whatever happened to the big pink deodorant blocks put in downtown sewers?

A. Nothing. They're still in use.

Years ago, the city started dumping the 20-pound deodorizers down city manholes to tone down the sewage odor that sometimes wafts through downtown in summer.

"We still use deodorant blocks, but we use them only in extremely dry extended conditions," Public Works Administrator Lee Norris said.

The odor occurs most frequently during the summer because those are the driest months and rainfall can't wash out the waste matter, he said.

The last time the city used the blocks was around last August, he said.

At the same time, some other odor problems are being solved.

Norris said the department is about 85 percent done with a program to eliminate odor at Moccasin Bend Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Once the program is fully implemented, it will help tremendously to decrease odors that drift on the breeze from the plant to the North Shore and across the Tennessee River into the downtown area.

"It should be finished soon," he said.

Contact staff writer Cliff Hightower at chightower@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6480. Follow him at twitter.com/cliffhightower or facebook.com/cliff.hightower.

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