The Olde Atlanta Club is as genteel as its name implies. The Suwanee, Georgia community boasts pristine golf courses, upscale homes, and plenty of Southern charm.
The community is also home to an aging wastewater treatment plant, which had an expensive problem. The plant was protected by the original roto-screen assembly, which did a reasonable job of screening away large debris, but failed to intercept gritty material. 'It probably worked fine when it was new,' observed Garrett Gladstone, the plant's Operator in Charge. 'But it had definitely seen better days.'
The screen's self-cleaning spray bar no longer functioned, so workers had to scrape away debris by hand. Detritus gathered in piles until workers hefted it into a nearby dumpster, again by hand. In addition to the unsafe and unsavory work environment, the manual cleaning process had a nasty side-effect: odor. The smell of sewage wafted frequently over nearby homes and businesses, and residents were understandably unhappy. 'As you can imagine,' Gladstone says, 'it did not smell good.'
Necessary upgrades to the screening system were beyond the community's budget, so they chose a stopgap solution. Workers constructed a building around the old roto-screen assembly to contain the odor. But serious problems persisted, as mold and dangerous sewer gases accumulated in the new building, compounding the safety hazard.