Officials Working to Resolve Smell from Coke Plant

By Joe Varrone, Record Staff Writer
Posted 8/6/11

Coca-Cola officials are blaming a foul odor emitting from their sewage treatment plant in Truesdale on "instability in spring weather." "We're reacting the best we can to the situation to lessen the …

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Officials Working to Resolve Smell from Coke Plant


Coca-Cola officials are blaming a foul odor emitting from their sewage treatment plant in Truesdale on "instability in spring weather." "We're reacting the best we can to the situation to lessen the impact," said Kim Glazebrook, Coca-Cola safety environmental security manager. "We're not looking for a quick fix that might not solve the issue in the long term." Coca-Cola officials planned to attend the Truesdale Board of Aldermen meeting Wednesday, June 8, to further discuss their investigation and solutions to arrest the sewage-smelling odor. According to Glazebrook, Coca-Cola added an enzyme to its sewage lagoon to eat up the sludge, but rapid temperature changes are prohibiting the enzymes from doing their job. Because of the varied weather, alternative methods are being attempted to get rid the sludge in the Coca-Cola plant's lagoon. Company officials say that one of the byproducts of those methods is that methane gas is being released into the air which is contributing to the smell. Depending on the direction of the wind, the area of the smell varies, but Truesdale city officials have received complaints from businesses on East Veterans Memorial Parkway and residents on Smith Street, North Water Street, Juni Way, Boone Hollow subdivision and Countryside Mobile Homes. The smell is also evident on Interstate 70, adjacent to the Coca-Cola plant entrance. Truesdale city officials met with Glazebrook last Wednesday to discuss the smell. "We took a tour of the lagoons and Kim explained to us what was going on," said Truesdale Mayor Murray Bruer. "The weather keeps going hot, cold, hot, cold." He also said that the smell does not pose a health hazard. "(The air) is actually clean," Bruer said. "It's not affecting anything, except that it's just an odor, but it's not a biohazard." Glazebrook said warm, sunny weather and a high amount of traffic along I-70 help disperse the concentration of the heavy odor. "Warmer weather helps the bacteria," she said. "(At night) there's not enough oxygen and the air is heavier. There's also not as much traffic on the highway to mix the air and the air will just sit." Both Truesdale and Coca-Cola officials are now waiting on approval from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to move forward with the cleaning process. Despite seeking a long-term solution, Glazebrook said until further cleaning action is approved, there are temporary fixes. "We also have the ability to add more air (to the lagoon) and take more solids out," she said. "I've been up here a number of nights to oversee the issue and the smell has been significantly lower the last few nights. I'm also in contact with (Truesdale) city officials on a daily basis." Missouri Bio-Solids, a bio-chemical company based in Columbia, may be hired to remove and recycle the sludge, should DNR approve the cleaning. "Coca-Cola has to go through an application with DNR," said Bruer. "The city will expedite the process with any contacts we have. DNR would give Coca-Cola approval to have the sludge removed. (Bio-Solids) is licensed to haul the (sludge) and once DNR says yes - boom, it's gone." Despite complaints from citizens and businesses, Bruer feels Coca-Cola is doing everything it can to combat the smell until further cleaning is approved. "It's going to be expensive for them to dredge the lagoon," he said. "They're not shirking their duties. They're spending money and in my opinion, they're doing everything they can." Glazebrook, who has been a resident in Warren County for approximately 15 years, said the smell is an issue she takes personally. "I do take this very seriously," she said. "It's not something we take lightly." Coca-Cola Midwest Region Vice President of Public Affairs Kevin Morris agreed. "We apologize for this odor that has been present and we are going to resolve it," he said. "We're part of the community and we have been for 10 years." Bruer urged patience from citizens and businesses until the smell is cleared up. "It's not going away overnight," he said. "We've got a solution at hand and we're working on it. (The smell removal) will happen. It's just putting the right things together." "We're working on it and it will be resolved," said Glazebrook.