Local News

Cary Considered Great Place To Live, But What's That Smell?

Posted February 10, 2004

— WRAL viewers have called, e-mailed and told us in person -- something stinks in Cary.

The town, known as one of the best in the United States, is not about to back away from the stench.

It hits people when they are driving on Interstate 40, just west of Harrison Avenue.

Those who have experienced it can vividly describe it.

"It smells like my 18-month-old daughter's diaper in a trash can somewhere in the house," David Morken said," and I don't know which one, but I have to go looking for what waste basket that diaper is in."

Morken's description was pretty close to right on.

The smell that has people talking comes from Cary's Wastewater Treatment Facility off Old Reedy Creek Road.

Driving by is bad enough. But try working, or working out -- near it.

"I own a business directly across from the plant," Morken said. "We smell it every day.

"Depending on the weather, it is worse some days than others. But I also run at lunch, and, as you go by, you can't escape it."

Said Cary Utilities Director Rob Bonne: "Certain types of weather patterns cause the odor to accumulate rather than disperse."

Bonne said the solution to the stink is a Biosolids Dryer, an $11 million facility. Construction starts next month on West Lake Road.

The dryer will turn all the smelly sludge into neat, dry, non-smelly fertilizer pellets.

Cary is known for cul-de-sacs, good schools and good shopping. But now, something else could put the town on the map, or in the ground in some places. The town plans to sell the finished product as yard fertilizer.

Milwaukee makes a fertilizer called Mil-organite. One day, hardware stores in the Triangle may be selling Car-organite.

Cary officials said the town could earn up to $70,000 a year on fertilizer sales.

As for the current situation with this sewage smell, town officials say they are working on it.

In the meantime, everyone admits that Cary's sewage definitely stinks.

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