No longer on the nose
24 July 2017
Goulburn Valley Water (GVW) is sometimes required to deal with odour issues, where residents experience unpleasant smells in the air which can be due to the age and deterioration of some of the Corporation's infrastructure.
To help manage these smelly issues, GVW has an extensive odour management program. Over the past five years, the Corporation have spent over $1.8m on odour reduction projects across the district. This has included trialling odour reduction solutions, both short and long term, which has managed to provide residents with some welcome relief.
A major project recently completed was the installation of an odour unit to bypass a 50 year old tower at Maculata Drive in Shepparton. The reinforced concrete tower had been in operation for over 50 years and due to its age, the condition of the structure had deteriorated resulting in increasing odour leaks and unpleasant smells for nearby residents, including Taner Yavuzcehre, over recent years.
Mr Yavuzcehre said that during the warmer months he could not open the windows to his house or enjoy time in his backyard. “The smells were terrible and I thought no one should have to live like this.” He also said that warmer weather often made the smells even more unbearable. “The summer months were really bad and my family and I couldn’t use our backyard or open the windows in our house.”
After first contacting GVW and bringing the odour problem to the Corporation’s attention, GVW initially monitored odour and installed a temporary system to suppress odour, while the long term solution was designed and contracted for installation. The odour control unit, installed and operating at Maculata Drive since November 2016, has reduced smells and the old tower has now been decommissioned. Mr Yavuzcehre said that since the installation of the unit he is now able to enjoy living in his home again. “We can enjoy our backyard again and invite family and friends over for a BBQ, something that was impossible before the unit was installed.”
Engineering improvements in towns including Tatura, Wandong and Bonnie Doon have also assisted in reducing odours. A $600,000 project in Tatura involved GVW partnering with Regional Development Victoria and the Tatura Abattoirs to install a new sewer rising main and sewer pump station. This project diverted sewerage flow away from one of the towns’ sewer pump stations and with the installation of odour units on air valves, has resulted in improved odours in the area.
In Wandong a $1.35m upgrade diverted flows from two sewer pump stations discharging to a single gravity sewer main to a new system. The new system has eliminated odours from the gravity main with each pump station now pumping directly to Wallan via an extension to the rising main. A new storage tank has been installed which allows the system to cope with power outages and wet weather flows.
Fortunately improvements in technology and GVW’s odour management program has resulted in a reduction in odour complaints. In 2016, GVW received 28 odour related complaints compared to 95 complaints in 2009. Although odour complaints to GVW are declining, Mr Yavuzcehre encouraged all residents concerned with persisting odours to report them. “Make sure you speak up, don’t think that you need to put up with bad smells,” he said. “Even though it’s been a long process, GVW have been great finding a solution to fix the odours, if you don’t let them know, they may not know there’s a problem.”
Odours can be reported to GVW’s 24 hour Customer Service Centre on 1800 454 500.