Sewage smell in State College… when will it stop? WTAJ investigates

Local News

COLLEGE TOWNSHIP, CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ)– It’s a problem some residents in College Township have faced for many years: being greeted (some days) by a not-so-pleasant odor.

The aforementioned odor comes from a nearby sewage treatment plant, called The University Area Joint Authority (UAJA).

Currently, work is wrapping-up on a new $10 million Odor Control facility at UAJA to quell the stink (funded by local resident’s sewage bill payments).

WTAJ spoke with UAJA’s Executive Director, Cory Miller to learn more about the project, and see how long it will be until the smell is gone.

The station also spoke with a College Township homeowner to highlight his perspective on the smelly situation.

Below is the what both had to say.

“You have guests or friends over, or you want to have a bar-b-q… you can’t do it, you just can’t because the smell is really really nauseating,” said College Township resident Mark Ciletti who lives near the UAJA.

Ciletti says he and other locals hope they’ll soon be able to say goodbye to the stench for good… and they may be in luck.

“We’re coming down to the end… a lot of it is equipment installation at this point. We’re waiting for a couple key components to be delivered,” said Miller when asked how soon the new facility will be operational.

Miller said the exact completion date should be the week before Thanksgiving, this November… about a month later than the originally anticipated completion date.

Miller says there were a few setbacks for the contractor, and they felt it was better not to rush towards finishing the project, to ensure it’s completed properly.

One key feature to the new facility: it allows moisture to be removed during the treatment process.

“What was happening before was the odor filter would get saturated. Air would not flow up through it, and a lot of the bacteria and micro-organisms that were doing the odor treatment would start dying off, and actually add to the odors,” said Miller.

Then, when the wind kicks-up, it blows the smell as far as four or five miles away.

“It’s really a strong odor… it’s just disgusting,” remarked Ciletti, who added that depending on the wind, he can smell the abrasive reek of sewage during various hours of the day.

Another key component of the new facility that should stop the stink: an exhaust stack to keep clean air moving.

“It’s tall to get it up into the atmosphere so the clean air coming out will mix with the outside air. Air will continue to be drawn through and up the stack, rather than just stagnating in a specific area,” Miller said.

Ultimately this should make life outdoors easier for area residents

“We’ve been hoping for this for a long time so we just can’t wait for it to happen. We’re trying to be patient with it, but it’s not fun,” said Ciletti.

“We’re giving them a much better project by taking longer, we’ll give them something that’s gonna work way better than if we hurried up and did something earlier,” Miller said.

He also told WTAJ that it will take several weeks for the odor to completely disappear once the new facility is functional.

According to Miller, the facility is built to last 30 years.

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