• James Armstrong

Rigaud residents bothered by bad smell wafting through town


The aging wastewater treatment plant in Rigaud has proven to be the source of a recent bad smell permeating the area.

In recent days, what’s been described as nauseating odours have unsettled some residents of Rigaud, particularly those in the more urban areas of the town.

“It smells like rotten eggs,” complained a citizen to Mayor Hans Gruenwald Jr. at the town council meeting held Monday, May 14.

Cause of odours

According to a statement issued by the town Wednesday, May 16, the culprit is the wastewater treatment plant located in the northwest sector in an industrial park.

“The smell is due to atmospheric conditions and aerobic processes,” said the mayor in an interview Thursday, May 17. “There are two situations that can happen in the aeration basin of the water treatment plant. It can either be aerobic or septic,” he added. The abhorrent smell occurs when the situation becomes septic. According to the statement, the sewage treatment system is almost entirely biological except for small doses of a chemical injected into the process to remove phosphorus by coagulation.

“They have added more aeration to one of the basins, but it is a slow process,” said the mayor.

Treatment plant life span

The statement also indicated the wastewater treatment plant has reached the end of its lifespan and its capacity.

“We are in the process of issuing calls for tender for drawings and plans to revamp and expand the plant,” responded Gruenwald to the question of what would happen with the aging system. The mayor was unwilling to put a price tag on the renovation project saying he preferred to wait until all the bids were received.

Financing the project

“At the present time, there isn’t any funding coming in from anywhere,” said Gruenwald. “We have been working very hard to obtain government grants but the recent response hasn’t been very positive.” As for how the sewage treatment plant project stacks up against the construction of the new municipal garage with a $2.5 million price tag, the mayor replied, “We need the garage to maintain the equipment that we use to maintain the water treatment plant and everything else.”

He also pointed out that the former municipal garage had been sold for $1.5 million and the proceeds were being used to fund the new municipal garage project.