Developments at Bryce Feed Station

Submitted by Alison Reynolds

The stench that emanates from the Bryce Street Chemical Feed Station has concerned our neighborhood for decades, but since 2013, much attention has been paid to improving the equipment at the City facility—located just west of the intersection of West TC Jester and West 11th Street—so that Timbergrove Manor residents may breathe a little easier.

The background for newer residents: Wastewater reaching the Bryce Street facility undergoes two treatment processes: the primary treatment allows solids to settle out of the water. In the secondary treatment, the separated biological solids are broken down with pathogens to create biomass, also known as sludge. This process generates hydrogen sulfide (H2S), a colorless gas with the characteristic foul smell of rotten eggs. The smelly gas collects in the air in the sewage transfer pipe that carries the sludge to the final treatment center.

Over the last several years, City of Houston Public Works has made equipment improvements to help mitigate the air pollution, including plastic sheeting, an odor control treatment system and fans, chemical feed systems, and chemical storage tanks—plus operational procedures. While these actions have helped in some regard, we are still far from stink-free.

At the TMCC General Meeting on March 19, representatives from City of Houston Public Works spoke about ongoing efforts at the Station to control the smell that still lingers.

Data was shared to illustrate how odor control is measured at the facility. As wastewater enters the facility, prior to treatment, the gaseous H2S concentration measures an average of 18.6 PPM. After treatment, the concentration is measuring at an average of 0.0835 PPM. Therefore, the bio-scrubber is able to remove odors at an efficiency rate of 99.6%.

To combat the 0.04% that remains, the Capital Projects team outlined several action items:

  1. Regular system checks for compliance with manufacturer recommendations

  2. Keeping key equipment in inventory

  3. Regular testing of bio-scrubber equipment, including PH checks

  4. Use of chemicals to neutralize H2S that is downstream from the scrubber

  5. A study between COH and the chemical vendor to optimize the use of neutralizing chemicals

  6. Diligence among residents to CALL 311!

If and when you encounter a stench in the Bryce area, report it to 311. The more reports we have, the more attention the City will give to the problem!