Callaway Smell Upsets Commissioners

By: Sanika Dange Email
By: Sanika Dange Email

The dispute over a sewage treatment plant bubbled over again Tuesday during the Bay County Commission meeting.

The county and the City of Callaway have been blaming each other over a bad smell coming from the plant, but the two sides may be turning a corner on the problem.

The smell created by the wastewater treatment facility at Veterans Park in Callaway has frustrated residents for ten years.

Callaway Mayor Thomas Abbott says, "In the eight years that I've been on the board, rarely does a board meeting go by, that someone doesn't say, 'Has there been any improvement?'"

Six weeks ago, that occasional nuisance became a big concern after Mayor Abbott received a letter from the county saying the hydrogen-sulfide based odor is actually harmful.

Callaway Resident Dalton Richter explains, "It smells like sewer, like a busted sewer line or something of that nature, raw eggs, or feces I guess you could say."

The AWT facility is jointly owned by Bay County, Callaway, Springifeld, and Parker.

Callaway city officials say there's a faulty odor scrubber system and filter on the county-owned section of the sewage line.

But the County Officials say Callaway isn't using the proper chemicals to treat the sewage upstream.

Bay County Commissioner Bill Dozier says, "What they want to do is point the finger at us like we're not taking care of business when it's actually the city of Callaway. I have family that lives there and friends who live there and I think that the government, the leadership in Callaway has done them a disservice by allowing this to take place like they have."

Mayor Abbott says, "I have a lot of respect for bill dozier but I don't think that's helpful. I'm not saying they haven't made efforts, they have but we haven't solved it yet, and I think I would be doing a disservice to the citizens of the city, with all due respect to Bill Dozier if I said, 'Thank you county, you guys have solved this problem.'"

Despite Dozier's comments Tuesday, Commissioner Guy Tunnell says county staff members are now working with Callaway staff to find a cost effective solution, and he says they've come up with several options they'll be exploring.

One of the trial solutions will be pouring caustic soda into the water supply upstream.

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