Updated at 11:35 a.m. — The work on the county’s sewage plant has been postponed until next week, officials say.
UPDATE 11:15am – This repair work has been postponed. Any safe-but-perhaps-noticeable odor likely to be rescheduled for early next week. [Insert Redskins defense reference here.] https://t.co/N1wV5vJkpO
— Arlington Department of Environmental Services (@ArlingtonDES) September 24, 2019
Earlier: The air near Arlington’s sewage plant is expected to be a bit more rank than usual
The county’s Dept. of Environmental Services announced yesterday that the plant near Crystal City was undergoing repair work on its odor control system, starting today (Tuesday). As a result “a sulfurous odor may be noticeable near the plant as air is vented out of manholes on both sides of South Glebe Road.”
Staff from the department provided a diagram (above) showing the location of the work and the odorous manholes, noting that the extra emissions are safe and not a health hazard.
The full announcement from DES is below.
Tomorrow through Friday, weather-permitting, crews at the County Water Pollution Control Plant will be repairing a duct connected to an odor control scrubber system that discharges cleaned air to the atmosphere. During the work, a sulfurous odor may be noticeable near the plant as air is vented out of manholes on both sides of South Glebe Road.
There is no health hazard posed by this work.
The photo [above] shows the scrubber buildings involved in the repairs as outlined and two small purple x’s indicating the manholes involved in venting.
Safety is always the plant staff’s No. 1 priority. Last year, the plant won the Virginia Water Environment Association’s Facility Safety Award.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Arlington County Department of Environmental Services
Image via Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services
In a note to neighbors today, managers say that they’re “working diligently to reduce the excessive odors that were intermittently emitted from the Plant over the past few weeks.”
However, the work that must be done to solve the problem over the next month — cleaning ducts, performing maintenance activities, modifying equipment for rapid troubleshooting — will “likely cause a temporary increase in odor.”
“The Water Pollution Control Plant strives to provide the best level of customer service and we apologize for any inconvenience,” plant representatives wrote. “In the future we will attempt to perform the duct cleaning activities during the winter months to minimize the impact on the local residents.”
Managers also say they will be “refreshing staff on odor control procedures.”
A pervasive chemical odor has prompted some residents in the neighborhood just north of the Washington Golf and Country Club and east of Glebe Road to call the fire department, thinking something was amiss, when in fact the odor is actually a byproduct of scheduled sewer work in the area.
Contractors working for the county’s Water, Sewer and Streets Bureau are relining the sewer pipes along the 4700 block of 34th Road North until about 8:30 p.m. tonight. Water service has been cut to a number of homes in the area to facilitate the work, which is being done without any excavation.
The sewer bureau’s contractors using “a trenchless technology known as Cured-In-Place Pipe,” according to county Department of Environmental Services spokesperson Myllisa Kennedy.
The odor is the result of the styrene resin that’s used to reline the pipes. Kennedy says the resin “is not harmful to pets or people.”
Here’s how she explained the process:
The process involves inserting a resin-impregnated felt liner similar to a sock into an existing sanitary sewer main through the manhole. Once the liner is in place, hot water is injected into the sock, and the heated water activates the resin material which is impregnated in the liner. As the resin is activated, it cures and forms into a solid plastic material which transforms the flexible liner into a rigid pipe which exhibits structural strength equivalent to a new sewer. Additionally, the new cured pipe provides a smooth and efficient flow channel which thoroughly renews the sewer without excavating the pipe.
Once the pipe liner has cured, a robotic tool is inserted into the new pipe and is remotely directed through the pipe to cut out the lateral service connections, and the new pipe is placed back into service. The entire process typically requires 6-12 hours. The County’s Capital Improvement Program funds the relining program to replace approximately 1.5 percent of the sewer system annually, about 7 miles of pipe.
Similar work will be performed on the 4700 blocks of 34th Street and Dittmar Road between Nov. 29 and Dec. 3 next week. Sewer bureau staff will hand-deliver notices to affected homes.