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Water Pollution Control Bureau Apologizes for Smell

Managers at the county’s Water Pollution Control Plant are apologizing for a stinky situation on Sunday.

Excessive odors were released from the sewage plant on S. Glebe Road due to an overripe load of “biosolids.” A letter to residents from the Water Pollution Control Bureau explains what went wrong:

On May 6, 2012, odors were released by the Water Pollution Control Plant. We apologize for this inconvenience and have investigated the issue. Due to coordination issues with truck ordering, timely truck delivery, and work in the dewatering building loading bays, a load of biosolids remained in a bin for several days. This overloaded the odor control system and resulted in odors being released.

Plant management has updated the procedures concerning truck ordering and coordination, loading times and procedures, and equipment monitoring to minimize the probability of a recurrence.

Significant progress has been made in the past two years with respect to addressing odor control at the plant. Staff continue to work to prevent/minimize odor releases and plant impact on local quality of life while maintaining viable plant operations.

Photo via Arlington County Department of Environmental Service.

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What Was That Smell?

We still aren’t 100 percent sure where it came from, but last night a pervasive sulfur-like smell was reported in parts of Arlington and the District.

D.C. Fire and EMS investigated the smell, which was concentrated around the Foggy Bottom area, and later said that they “believe the Army Corps of Engineers drained a catch basin” in Georgetown, “resulting in stink.”

Via Twitter, Arlington residents told us where they caught a whiff of the foul odor.

“Something did smell odd near Virginia Square,” one Twitter user told us. Two other users agreed that Virginia Square was particularly odorous.

“Noticed the smell around Lyon Village,” said another Twitter user. “Particularly bad near Lee Hwy & Spout Run.”

“Crystal City was a little odd for a bit but that could just be normal Crystal City,” said yet another.

Others reported the smell along the GW Parkway, Lee Highway and Route 50, as well as in Hayes Park.

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