Debbie Van Saun, the city's assistant utilities director, checked with Dave Wagner, the city's wastewater treatment superintendent, and George Williams, the city's public works director, for information about the odor. Here's Van Saun's response:
``Odors on East Eighth can commonly be generated by two sources. One is the city's grass-clipping compost pile. As part of the maintenance required for this operation, the piles must occasionally be turned to aerate them. This can be a cause of odors, but public-works staff take care in monitoring wind speed and direction before doing this, so as to minimize the effect on area residents.
``The other source of odors is the sludge-storage lagoon at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Construction is under way on a residuals handling facility, a $7.6 million project which will result in discontinuation of the storage of wastewater residuals (sludge) in the lagoon.
``The project includes the installation of biological odor control for the handling of wastewater residuals. Work is scheduled to be completed in the last quarter of 1999.
``Topeka's Oakland Wastewater Treatment Plant installed covers and odor control on several headworks areas (entry points of wastewater at the treatment plant) due to septic raw wastewater which caused releases of odorous hydrogen sulfide (a rotten egg-like odor). Lawrence's Wastewater Treatment Plant has not experienced the same problem with its headworks, due to lesser concentrations of the hydrogen sulfide gas in its wastewater.''