Big stink on Penn. Avenue

SALEM – A contractor removing grit, rags and other non-organic materials from the Salem Wastewater Treatment Plant grit building spilled some of its load when it made an abrupt stop on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Utilities Superintendent Don Weingart said the roll-off dumpster was operated by Allied Waste which is contracted to make pickups once a week.

Weingart said the dumpsters contain grit, rags and other non-organics that are removed from the waste water stream before it enters the plant for further processing.

Some organic materials that are unable to be removed are also in the dumpsters which are usually picked up at 2 a.m. on Monday, but Weingart said the dumpster was picked up between 5 and 6 a.m. Wednesday.

He did not know if they were equipped with lids and said they are only filled to a certain height because, as roll-on and roll-off containers, they are tilted at an angle when picked up and dropped off.

The waste material apparently sloshed over the top of the dumpster onto Pennsylvania Avenue in the area of George Wallace Parkway, near the bypass bridge.

Weingart said the didn’t know how many gallons spilled and received a call Thursday from the Salem Health Department which he said was working on a report.

The spill generated complaints from motorists who had no reason to think that sewage waste would be on the road and splashed through it – and have been unable to remove the foul odor from their vehicles.

Allied Waste has a facility located at 1717 Pennsylvania Ave., nor far from the spill site and the utilities department referred people with issues regarding the spill to them at 330-337-7677.

A North Lima company with a street sweeper was called to clean up the site but by mid-afternoon Thursday there was still a strong, localized odor.