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Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District looking at possible solution to bad odor in Walker's Point

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) is looking at a possible solution to the bad odor sometimes popping up in Walker's Point.

The Jones Island Water Reclamation Facility works with human waste and other liquids you probably wouldn't want to smell. One structure actually has a system designed to filter out odors - but it hasn't been working since 2002.

Some people in the surrounding area say it's time for a fix.

With its fresh-smelling shampoos and conditioners, Illustria Salon is one of the last small buildings on 1st Street in Walkers Point. Since they moved-in in 2002, stylist Heide Prenich says the odor has been there.

"Some days it's worse than others but when it's here, anybody who walks in the door makes reference to it. On windier days it's definitely more noticeable," Prenich said.

"It kind of surrounds you. It doesn't go away, unfortunately," Kelsi Frank, another stylist at the salon said.

"Definitely on warmer days with the wind. I smell it more in the summer obviously. You don't smell it much in the winter," Frank said.

Discussions about the smell in Walker's Point and other neighborhoods have led to a proposal out of the MMSD: restart an abandoned sludge odor control system that hasn't been in use since it stopped working in 2002.

Currently, the two 36-foot-tall tanks vent directly into the outside air.

According to an estimate from a recent committee meeting, the repair cost would be about $338,000.

But officials warn this fix might not be a total solution. There are multiple "sources" of smells including other large open treatment tanks and odors from Milorganite production.

At Illustria Salon they say they just wish they could prop open their doors in the summer for clients.

"They just kind of make jokes to you when they come in. Like 'Oh my gosh, it smells so awful driving in today' and so on and so forth," Frank said.

"A lot of these condos have windows that they can open so I can definitely see where it would be a concern for them. If I moved down here and I was paying the prices that they were, I would want to open my windows and get that fresh scent," Prenich said.

The full MMSD Commission will meet for a vote on this proposal in about two weeks.

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