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Poo-Gloos make Wellsville’s sewage lagoons sweeter-smelling

January 28th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Noelle Johansen

WELLSVILLE–Poo-Gloos are taking the stink out of sewage in the lagoons north of Wellsville.

There are currently 35 operating bio-domes, nicknamed “Poo-Gloos,” in Wellsville’s wastewater lagoon system. The alternative sewage treatment devices were developed by Dr. Kraig Johnson and the University of Utah.

Wellsville Mayor Thomas Bailey said Poo-Gloos look like igloos made of plastic. Each dome contains three smaller, concentric domes. Air is pumped through each dome, and a large amount of interior surface area promotes bacterial growth. The bacteria then “eats the bad stuff and leaves the good stuff,” Bailey said.

The City Council recently approved a proposal for the installation of 40 additional Poo-Gloos at the cost of about $90,000. There is a grant pending for Johnson from the University of Utah that, if awarded, will subsidize the cost of the new Poo-Gloos, sewer superintendant Tom Maughan said. If the grant is not awarded, Wellsville city will buy the Poo-Gloos anyway.

“We’re going to pay the full price if we need to,” Maughan said.

The alternative would be to build a treatment plant which would cost anywhere from $5 million to $7 million, Bailey said. The Poo-Gloos will also extend the life of the treatment ponds.

“Wellsville’s been kind of an experimental place for these Poo-Gloos,” Councilman Jackie Orton said. Orton said the only choice is to keep the ponds around for as long as possible.

Phosphorus can be harvested from the Poo-Gloos and used as a highly effective fertilizer. This is a positive alternative as only a certain amount of phosphorus can be dumped in rivers, Bailey said.

Maughan said Wellsville is the first city in the state to have a phosphorus limit. The plan is to apply the phosphorus to the acreage surrounding the treatment ponds.

“That’s how we’re planning to harvest that phosphorus,” he said, “by land application.”

Maughan approved the additional Poo-Gloos. “I think they’re a very good thing to have. They’re doing what we want them to do,” Maughan said. The air supply system was recently upgraded and can support up to 105 Poo-Gloos.


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