Fire Hits Treatment Plant Odor Control Equipment

Friday, January 12, 2018 @ 02:01 PM gHale

A fire Sunday at the St. Croix Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant in Oak Park Heights, MN, caused over $750,000 in damage.

The fire caused no service interruption at the plant, which treats 3.1 million gallons of wastewater a day on average and serves 30,000 people in Stillwater, Bayport and Oak Park Heights.

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The fire call came in just after midnight Saturday.

The fire started in — and was confined to — a building that houses the plant’s odor-control equipment, said Bonnie Kollodge, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Council.

Kollodge said the fire appears to have started in a fan/motor in one of three odor-control units in the building; the fire destroyed the fan/motor and associated fiberglass duct work.

“It was a very tough fire,” said Bayport Fire Chief Allen Eisinger. “The resin in the fiberglass generated large volumes of thick, black smoke. Imagine a boat fire inside a building. The smoke was so thick that firefighters literally could not see an inch in front of them. They had to use thermal-imaging cameras to find the source of the fire and extinguish it.”

The fire also caused a power outage in the building.

The plant’s odor-control system should be operational by the end of next week, Kollodge said, adding there are no detectable odors coming from the site.

“Fewer odors are generated this time of year, reducing odor impacts,” Kollodge said. “Biological activity in the sewer system is reduced because the temperature of wastewater is lower in winter.”

But as a precaution, crews plan to increase the dosage of an odor-control chemical added to sewage entering the plant, she said.

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