Orland won’t be dealing with wastewater sludge for much longer. On July 19, the Orland City Council announced the installation of a new wastewater treatment system that’s projected to be more cost-efficient and environmentally sustainable – not to mention cleaner.

The new system was installed on June 17, according to a press release issued by the city, and is called the Blue Frog System by Absolute Aeration. City officials said this method is unsurpassed in its ability to break down organic sludge, a problem in Orland’s wastewater ponds that needed addressing.

Residents have long complained about the odor drifting from these waste pools, but the problem accelerated in the past few years because the plant stopped properly breaking down human waste, according to a press release. The city tried other methods to curb the stench, but ultimately decided to implement a brand new system.

“The city of Orland has been dealing with sludge build-up in our wastewater lagoons for as long as I have been city engineer,” said Ken Skillman in a press release. “Back in 2003-04, we implemented a bioremediation process to reduce sludge deposits but discontinued its use about a year to 18 months later when we stopped seeing measurable reductions and results.”

Skillman noted that the sludge was starting to form “islands” or “mounds,” because the waste wasn’t decomposing as it should – adding to the smell. The Public Works Department considered dredging, but it would cost the city around $1 million. The city would have had to pay this cost every five to 10 years to maintain the waste facility.

“City staff and Rolls, Anderson & Rolls (RAR) engineers considered all of our options and chose to install Blue Frog units to eliminate the City of Orland’s current sludge buildup and prevent ongoing sludge accumulations through anaerobic digestion,” Skillman said.

Representatives from Blue Frog Technology assured residents that they won’t have to endure the foul odor for much longer. In fact, they might already notice a difference.

“The installation at Orland is best described as a system that is designed to provide active treatment and reduce organic solids, primarily in Ponds one and two,” said Grace Corbino, president of Blue Frog Technology, in a press release. “We expect to see significant visual improvements and odor reduction within the first couple of weeks.”

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