I have been displaced from Cedar Rapids beginning May 1 for 10 years. I do have an affinity for a city where I was raised and have many friends and family. However, “No longer a city of five smells” still raises its ugly head or perhaps you have never traveled Highway 13 coming from the south.
I used to live on Hertz Drive SE not far from the old sewage plant. Perhaps you are not old enough to recall when the Styrofoam covers collapsed and dreaded smells wafted throughout the areas surrounding it.
I had an occasion to call a man who oversaw the facility and asked that he and his family drive by my former home and experience the nauseating odor; choose a Sunday after church.
I spoke of Milwaukee’s effort to curb its problem by selling its processed waste as a fertilizer. Yes, he was familiar, but a Virginia company required a city to invest its effort at their expense for several years and if successful would step in to buy it, perhaps repay the city’s investment. He indicated they would move the sewage plant to a new site, problem solved. And the farmer hauled yet another load away, same old, same old.
Complaints about the smells brought out the city official’s comments: “Oh, we’ve added volcanic rock to overcome the problem.” I still see drivers traveling up Highway 13 with clothespins on their noses.
Tim T. Evans