Monday, July 4, 2022 Jul 4, 2022
92° F Dallas, TX

SMELLING TROUBLE

By Robert V. Camuto |

THESE PARTS Oh, you noticed? Yes, the area around 1-30, just east of Dallas, smelled worse than usual during this spring’s rains. Some motorists who were left gasping went so far as to call the Texas Air Control Board for an investigation.

Le Grand Odeur, it turns out, was caused by a little difficulty the Trinity River Authority had at its plant north of the freeway.

The TRA, which processes sewagefrom 20 cities, including parts of Dallas, opened a new landfill for sewage sludge last summer.

Trouble was, the prolonged rains turned the fill into impassible mud, so trucks couldn’t bring the stuff in. For a month and a half, the sludge piled up into an odiferous mountain of 15,000 tons.

The agency swears it will avoid a repeat performance with a process that during future rains will turn the waste into fertilizer.

“There’ll always be a little odor, but it won’t be the kind that will turn your head and make you hold your breath,” promises TRA project manager BILL TATUM.

Some longtime Grand Prairie dwellers, however, won’t be holding their breath on that pledge. They say good northers have been producing a malodorous wind since the TRA opened the plant 32 years ago.

“There’s always been that smell,” says city switchboard operator REBECCA VARNER, recalling family outings of her childhood. “Just out of good manners or delicacy, we just never did say anything about it.”

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