Lexington to spend $75,000 on consultant to address stench from sewage treatment plants

Ryan C. Hermens/

Lexington is hiring a consultant to address air quality complaints after residents near the city’s wastewater treatment plants have repeatedly complained about foul odors.

Mayor Linda Gorton signed an emergency contract Monday to Webster Environmental Associates Inc., a Louisville company, to assist the Lexington Division of Water Quality in addressing air quality complaints related to the wastewater treatment plants and the collection system.

Complaints have escalated in the Leestown Road corridor near the Town Branch Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is on Jimmie Campbell Drive. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Councilwoman Jennifer Reynolds, who represents the area, has held meetings with city officials and residents in that area due to ongoing concerns about the stench.

There have also been complaints in the neighborhoods surrounding the West Hickman Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is located in Jessamine County.

“The escalating air quality complaints require an aggressive response,” Gorton said. “We are going outside our normal procurement policies because of the emergency that exists. As of today, Webster is on board.”

The contract is for $75,000.

Webster will help identify the sources of the odors, check for air leaks, evaluate air filters and test existing conditions as needed, Gorton said.

Odor issues around wastewater treatment plants escalate when there is little to no rain, which means wastewater collects or stays in the system longer.

In addition, there is less stormwater in the sanitary sewer system because of repairs made to the system as part of a $590 million overhaul of the system mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency.