Description of Odor Study

Based on odor complaints from residents, the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) – Woodlands Division started an odor study to determine the cause and identify potential solutions.  SJRA’s third party Consultant will perform the study at select locations around the Woodlands Division service area.  Once the Consultant has reviewed the data a presentation will be provided to the public – details to come.  To keep the public up to date on current actions, progress updates are available below.  Prior to the public meeting, information is being provided on what has occurred and what the plan of action going forward is.

In order to completely understand the possible odor control measures/technology available, SJRA will be proposing a project to evaluate all available odor control measures/technologies for the entire WWTF to the Woodlands MUDs and SJRA Board of Directors in May, 2020.  This project will allow for an expanded knowledge of available technology to be provided to SJRA by utilizing an Engineering firm that has local, state, and national experience at multiple facilities. Although the details are being worked out, it is anticipated that this plan will take 4-6 months to complete.  The results of the plan will be presented to the Woodlands MUDs in order to give direction to SJRA on a path forward.

It’s important to note that all major expenditures must be evaluated, presented, and approved by the Woodlands MUDs.  SJRA will be working to do what we can with our current FY20 Budget while keeping the MUDs up to date on the actions taken.  If the temporary items exceed what is fundable in our current budget, we will discuss with the MUDs and seek approval on a path forward.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Odor Issue at Wastewater Treatment Facility No. 1

Built in 1975, WWTF No. 1 receives raw sewage from homes and businesses across nine Woodlands Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs):  MUD 1, MUD 6, MUD 7, MUD 36, MUD 46, MUD 47, MUD 60, MUD 67, and Metro MUD.  The average daily flow is approximately 3.5 million gallons per day.

The three WWTFs in The Woodlands are operated by the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) pursuant to contracts with the MUDs.  Per the contracts, the MUDs approve the budgets and capital project plans and pay for maintenance, operations, and facility expansions through the sewer rate.

WWTF No. 1, located near Sawdust Road and S. Millbend Drive, consists of mechanical and manual bar screens, a grit removal unit, four aeration basins, three secondary clarifiers, two low-head cloth media filters, and three chlorine contact basins.  The sludge handling units include aerobic digesters, a gravity thickener, and two belt filter presses.

  • Odors are normal for a plant of this type and age, but we can do something about it.
  • Considering that the plant was built in 1975 when there were no neighboring businesses or residences nearby, the plant is running as it was originally designed.
  • Operationally, the plant has consistently earned awards for Peak Performance and Wastewater Treatment Plant of the Year.
  • Over the years, as development has occurred closer and closer to the plant, odors have become more noticeable, meaning that significant upgrades will be needed to bring the plant to today’s higher standards for reduced odor.
  • These upgrades will involve both short-term and long-term fixes.

SJRA and the MUDs have taken several steps to determine sources and mitigate odor, including:

  • High pressure and vacuum cleaning of sewage lines
  • Covering grating to prevent venting from splitter boxes
  • Bypassing the plant’s grit unit
  • Inspecting manholes and repairing as needed
  • Installing inserts and solid, non-venting manhole lids
  • Expanding chemical disinfection of open roll-off containers
  • Upgrading odor control systems at the plant and installing additional units
  • Changing processes in aerated basins
  • Adjusting aeration control, monitoring, and alarming practices
  • Initiating a comprehensive odor control study in February 2020

Yes, this year SJRA and the MUDs initiated a comprehensive study to identify odor sources and recommend solutions.

  • January 2020: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality investigated reports of odor at WWTP No. 1.  No evidence of odor was found during this inspection.
  • February 2020: SJRA engaged Perkins Engineering to conduct an odor study in the neighborhood of Lakeside Cove.
  • March-April 2020: Sensors were placed throughout Lakeside Cove. Data was collected from 16 locations over four weeks.  Weekly progress and sensor locations posted to SJRA.net.
  • May 2020: Consultant will review collected data and report findings in a public meeting.

Mitigation measures are being implemented right now to provide as much odor reduction as possible in the near term while permanent fixes are designed and presented to the MUDs for approval.

Results and recommendations from the Perkins Engineering odor study will be presented to the MUDs.  As the contract owner/operator, SJRA stands ready to execute any measures approved by the MUDs.

For information on Woodlands Water Agency visit their website at https://woodlandswater.org, call 855-426-7283, like them @WoodlandsWater and follow them on Twitter @WJPA_Water.

For additional information on the WWTF No. 1 Odor Study, call the Woodlands Division office at 281-367-9511, or contact Matt Corley at mcorley@sjra.net.

For additional information on SJRA visit www.sjra.net, like SJRA on Facebook @SanJacintoRiverAuthority, or follow us on Twitter @SJRA_1937, or find us on Instagram @SanJacintoRiverAuthoritySJRA.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Odor Issue at Wastewater Treatment Facility No. 2

WWTF No. 2, located on Research Forest, receives raw sewage from homes and business across nine Woodlands Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs):  MUD 1, MUD 6, MUD 7, MUD 36, MUD 46, MUD 47, MUD 60, MUD 67, and Metro MUD.  The average daily flow is approximately 6.0 million gallons per day.

The three WWTFs in The Woodlands are operated by the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) pursuant to contracts with the MUDs.  Per the contracts, the MUDs approve the budgets and capital project plans and pay for maintenance, operations, and facility expansions through the sewer rate.

WWTF No. 2, located near Research Forest, consists of mechanical and manual bar screens, a grit removal unit, eight aeration basins, three secondary clarifiers, three low-head sand filters, and ultraviolet light disinfection. Sludge handling units include aerobic digesters, a gravity thickener, gravity belt thickeners, and two belt filter presses.

  • Odors are normal for a plant of this type and age, but we can do something about it.
  • Considering that the plant was built in 1975 when there were no neighboring businesses or residences nearby, the plant is running as it was originally designed.
  • Operationally, the plant has consistently earned awards for Peak Performance and Wastewater Treatment Plant of the Year.
  • Over the years, as development has occurred closer and closer to the plant, odors have become more noticeable, meaning that significant upgrades will be needed to bring the plant to today’s higher standards for reduced odor.
  • These upgrades will involve both short-term and long-term fixes.

Mitigation measures are being implemented right now to provide as much odor reduction as possible in the near term while permanent fixes are designed and presented to the MUDs for approval.

Results and recommendations from the Perkins Engineering odor study will be presented to the MUDs.  As the contract owner/operator, SJRA stands ready to execute any measures approved by the MUDs.

For information on Woodlands Water Agency visit their website at https://woodlandswater.org, call 855-426-7283, like them @WoodlandsWater and follow them on Twitter @WJPA_Water.

For additional information on the WWTF No. 1 Odor Study, call the Woodlands Division office at 281-367-9511, or contact Matt Corley at mcorley@sjra.net.

For additional information on SJRA visit www.sjra.net, like SJRA on Facebook @SanJacintoRiverAuthority, or follow us on Twitter @SJRA_1937, or find us on Instagram @SanJacintoRiverAuthoritySJRA.

Study Information for WWTF No. 2

Contractor:  Perkins Engineering Consultants, Inc.

Status & Schedule

Study Time Frame:  April, 2020 – August, 2020

Village:  Cochran’s Crossing and Alden Bridge

MUDs:  MUD 7 and 67

Odor Monitor Locations:
WWTF No.2 – Week 1 and 2 Monitor Locations_042820
WWTF No.2 – Week 3 and 4 Monitor Locations_051820

Dates are subject to change.