Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

City Still Working on Plant Problems

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

City Still Working on Plant Problems

Article excerpt

ATLANTIC BEACH -- After spending $2.1 million in recent years to expand and upgrade the Buccaneer Wastewater Treatment Plant, city officials thought noise and odor problems would go away.

But they haven't.

The City Commission this week authorized spending up to $64,900 more for noise and odor control devices at the plant near Mayport Road and Wonderwood Lane.

As the project continues, city officials are struggling to cure some nuisances.

They're offering a woman who lives nearby an air conditioner, so she can close her windows to repel the noise. And they're assuring querying residents that the noise and odor control devices weren't included in the $2.1 million expansion project, so the city's not paying for the same work twice.

The plant is in Jacksonville, but Atlantic Beach operates it. The plant serves abut 3,000 families outside of Atlantic Beach. The expansion increased the plant's capacity from 1.3 to 1.9 million gallons a day. Noise enclosures will be installed around three blowers that Jacksonville noise experts found are creating noise up to 22 decibels above the legal limit. The enclosures are estimated to cost between $35,000 and $40,000.

In addition, a $24,900 odor control system will be installed to eliminate the plant's smell, which the city received two complaints about this year, said Bob Kosoy, public works director.

Jane Aukens, an Atlantic Beach resident who lives near the plant, has been complaining about the noise since March. She recently demanded city officials solve the problem immediately.

"We don't have an instant fix," Mayor John Meserve said. "We can't shut down the plant."

Installing the noise enclosures will take about 10 weeks. In the meantime, wooden and foam noise barriers are being wrapped around the blowers to reduce the noise a little, Kosoy said.

Aukens, who keeps her windows open because she doesn't have central air-conditioning, said the barriers have helped some but not enough. …

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