New sewer rates leave city in a stink |

New sewer rates leave city in a stink

Dave Frank
Appeal Staff Writer

City sewer rates will spike this year, but not enough to air out the stench of the sewer treatment plant.

The 24 percent increase approved by city supervisors Thursday will help the public works department maintain equipment and pay debts. It is not enough for new projects, however, including a $2 million upgrade that would fight the smell of the sewer plant at the corner of Fifth Street and Butti Way.

The lack of collected fees combined with the city’s push to cut budgets will mean it could be six years or more before there is an upgrade, public works officials told supervisors who asked what they should tell residents who call to complain.

“(The smell) really is a problem,” City Manager Larry Werner said.

Mayor Marv Teixeira said he went to the plant himself after residents recently called to complain to him.

“It stinks like hell,” he said.

It is something happening across the country, according to Public Works Director Andy Burnham, because waste is more concentrated due to water conservation. This includes low-flush toilets, he said.

The reason people have recently complained in Carson City could be several things, said Kyle Menath, head of city wastewater operations.

The department did improvements at the plant eight years ago that cut down on the smell significantly, he said, but that brought a weaker yet new smell.

“It’s just taken (residents) this long to become aware of it,” he said.

The plant had also been on the edge of the city for years since construction began in 1961, but now many people drive past it and live in the area around it.

Ashley Fultz, 20, said she hasn’t smelled the stench for the week she’s worked on Butti Way for a construction company, but the smell is usually there when she drives by.

When asked to describe it, she said “very nasty.”

Public works will be able to add a special deodorizer in about a month, said Department Operations Manager Ken Arnold, because it won’t freeze in the warmer weather.

The department only gets a few complaints about the smell a year, though, he said, and he hasn’t gotten any more complaints than usual recently.

Complaints or the smell won’t be completely gone even when the department does get the upgrade, Menath said. He likened the stench to an onion that has many layers to peel until it’s gone.

• Contact reporter Dave Frank at or 881-1212.

More city news:

• A liquor license hearing for Katie Chew of Katie’s Bar, 3481 Highway 50 East, is set for April 3. The liquor board could take a range of action, from doing nothing to revoking her license. The sheriff’s department says Chew obstructed officers from searching for a man in her bar during an investigation on Feb. 17. Chew says she did not know the man was there. Her arraignment for the misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice is April 18.

• Construction on Bodine’s Casino is scheduled to be finished in May, according to Gregg Carano, one of the owners. The South Carson City casino will have 250 slots and is owned by Arizona businessman Michael Pegram and the Carano family, who also own the Eldorado and Silver Legacy in Reno.

• Supervisors approved preliminary conceptual and business plans for the city’s new recreation center, which will adjoin the new Boys & Girls Club.