Source’s odor solutions solve a 20 year problem

Clarksville touts progress on fixing sewer odor

You smell that Lincoln Drive? It smells like victory.

After years of trouble, some in an area of Clarksville — near Lincoln Drive and North Clark Boulevard — are reporting that a more than 20-year-old odor problem has been fixed.

The issue, according to Clarksville Town Council President Greg Isgrigg, had been a smelly 8.5-mile sewer pipe, which connects the town’s north end to the nearby sewer plant. Isgrigg notes that a new, still experimental system was installed that’s quelled the smell.

“We’re thrilled by it,” said Angela Smith, co-owner of Cannon’s Florist, one of a handful of businesses in the area.

The florist has been at the location for about seven years and there were times when the odor was “really tremendous,” she said. Since the new process was put in place, she said those in the area have been able to enjoy the neighborhood much more than before.

The town of Clarksville was recognized recently with an award from the Indiana Water Environment Association for the effort. Isgrigg bragged that he was able to stick his head in a manhole along the line and continue breathing normally.

The town implemented what’s known as the VSP system. “It is very powerful chemistry,” said Stewart North, president of field operations for Source Technologies — the Lexington, Ky.-based company that developed Clarksville’s system. Clarksville was the first in the country to adopt the patent-pending process, North said.

The system, which is based at Ray Lawrence Park, was installed in February. A pump there adds pure oxygen (generated on-site) and the catalyst — which is basically an organic compound — to a nearby force main.

The two elements oxidize the sewage in the pipe, essentially removing the sulfide contained in the water before it has a chance to become hydrogen sulfide – which is what smells so bad, explains North.

None of this is to say there’s nothing smelly in Clarksville anymore. Those closer to the sewage treatment plant on North Clark Boulevard, such as Debbie Rager, co-owner of Pro Sound Music Shop, can still smell the plant.

However, Isgrigg said, the dry summer and fall — where the line may have been more stagnant than in wetter years — was a good test for the catalyst.

“If I haven’t done anything else in the last five years, I’ve solved that problem,” he joked.