What stinks in Avon? | VailDaily.com

What stinks in Avon?

Matt Terrell
Vail, CO Colorado

AVON ” It stinks again in Avon, but the familiar and foul odor should go away soon.

Maybe you’ve smelled it while walking through Nottingham Park, like Jennifer Reynolds has in the past couple months.

“I love walking here, but the smell can be bad,” Reynolds said. “I can’t stand it sometimes.”

The stench comes from the sewer plant in Avon, and it’s been a regular visitor for years. The plant sits at the west end of town, and depending on the wind or day, can make you pinch your nose. Avon was at its smelliest in 2000 and 2001, when the town and the treatment plant were barraged with complaints, many from the Sunridge apartments and the surrounding area.

The town and the district eventually came to an agreement on how to handle the odor problems. Equipment was improved, treatment methods were refined, and for the past four years, hardly any complaints were received, town manager Larry Brooks said.

The smells are back and people have started calling again, Brooks said.

The problem should be temporary, said Diane Johnson, spokeswoman for the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District. The odors are a direct result of construction and upgrades being made to the sewer plant.

“When we have construction, more doors are open and more garage bays are open, and that lets odor escape,” Johnson said.

Some of the upgrades will actually help treat the odor and keep it in the plant. Johnson said construction is wrapping up, and the sanitation district will be taking a break from future projects.

Brooks and Dennis Gelvin, general manager for the sanitation district, said they would do a better job of letting each other know when odor could be escaping from the plant, or when the town is holding events that could be disrupted by foul smells.

Different versions of a ‘stink law’ have been thrown around in Avon. In 2001, an ordinance passed making it a public nuisance to allow the emission of stinky air. A judge questioned the constitutionality of the ordinance because it was vague and lacked a standard to measure whether bad odors were floating around.

Police officers were later trained with “scentometers” and an air quality standard was added to the ordinance, and a $300 a day fine was established. The sanitation district sued Avon over the ordinance, believing it was unconstitutional.

The lawsuit was dismissed when both sides signed an agreement outlining their duties in controlling odor.

Staff writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or mterrell@vaildaily.com.

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