St. Pete using essential oil to combat sewage stink

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Stopping the stench! St. Petersburg has a new and unusual plan to combat stinky sewer plants in the city. They’re using: essential oils!

When you move to Florida, you think, “warm tropical breeze and sea salt in the air,” added Laurie Calamici.

What you don't expect: “It smells like when you go to the zoo and smell the monkeys. It's not a pleasant odor,” explained Dominic Polk.

Polk and Calamici live across the street from the Southwest Water Reclamation Plant, where enough sewage to fill 90 olympic size swimming pools is processed every day.

The odor drifting into their Maximo Moorings Neighborhood and onto Eckerd College’s campus is enough to make you gag. 

Yet, Thursday the only scent in the air is a sweet, floral scent.

“I came outside and got a good whiff of it and it was look wooh what’s that?” Polk said about the unexpected pleasant scent.

The surprisingly nice smell comes from neutralizing misters just inches above the stinky sewage and a Hivon machine, which mixes essential oils into the air.

Kenny Wise, the chief operator at Southwest Water Reclamation Facility said with a laugh, “it is nicer to work here now.”

The pleasant odor comes at the perfect time. Crews are working fast to get the Southwest plant ready to take on nearly double the amount of sewage so the city can prevent more problems from bubbling up like the spills we saw last summer. 

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