Whatever happened to the big stink?

Canby residents around Canby’s wastewater treatment plant are likely glad it’s gone, but haven’t forgotten a stretch of foul stench that emanated from the facility more than a year ago. A sludge drier that was supposed to create a usable resource instead created a stink that simply couldn’t be stopped.

In the end, equipment and plant modifications to use the machine topped $2 million and the city of Canby looked to recoup that expense for a system that didn’t get the job done.

Naturally, litigation followed.

City Administrator Greg Ellis said that the multiple lawsuits are in mediation at the moment and there has been some movement in the process, but a settlement is still some ways away. There are four entities involved in litigation – city of Canby, ThermaFlight, which created the sludge drying product, R&G, the contractors on the project, and Curran-McLeod, the consultant who oversaw the project.

“Originally, it was R&G, the contractors whom we asked to make us whole again, but as time went along, other entities were added,” Ellis said. “In the end, the cost got up into the $2-3 million range and the thing just never worked the way it was supposed to. We want to be made whole.”

Ellis said he can’t reveal much more about the case, but noted in the last mediation session all four parties were in four separate rooms. The mediator had to move from room to room to discuss, offer and counter-offer all four parties needs and wants. Additionally, he said, R&G changed insurance carriers in the middle of the case and those lawyers have begun a federal case in the matter.

“When they deposed me, there were six lawyers in the room,” Ellis said. “I’d like to hope we can get this settled shortly.”

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