Today’s news:

A welcome ‘cover−up’

After years of holding their noses, Bay Ridge residents living near the Owls Head Water Treatment Plant may soon be able to sniff the roses.

Vincent Sapienza, an assistant commissioner with the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), told members of Community Board 10, gathered for their May meeting at the Norwegian Christian Home, 1250 67th Street, that over the summer permanent aluminum covers will be installed on some of the open tanks that had been implicated in the facility’s odor problems.

“These are real covers,” Sapienza assured the group. “They’re designed to cover tanks in sewage treatment plants.”

In addition, said Sapienza, an odor control system will be installed at the same time by Geomatrix, the company that was awarded the $800,000 contract.

Beginning in June, the nine tanks will be done, “one at a time,” Sapienza promised, “rather than having exposed tanks for the summer,” so that the neighborhood doesn’t get overwhelmed by any noxious odors that might emanate from them.

The aluminum covers will replace plywood covers that were installed temporarily in 2007. “We knew we’d only get three years out of them,” said Sapienza, who stressed that they had been installed, at the time, to alleviate odor problems temporarily while a permanent solution was crafted. By now, Sapienza said, the temporary covers, “Are pretty much shot.”

The work is expected to be completed by September, Sapienza said.

The replacement of the tank covers is a small part of the work being done at Owls Head. Currently ongoing is the Owls Head 33 project −− which is expected to be wrapped up by November, 2010. The 42−month−long, $39 million project includes the replacement of mechanical and electrical equipment in the plant’s residuals building, as well as an extension to that structure to enclose tanks now open to the air.

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