STRATFORD – Stratford residents can breathe a little easier thanks to measures underway to reduce the stink from the town's sewage lagoon.
The latest step involves installing Blue Frog devices that float on the lagoon's surface and help break down organic material.
Josh Clark, co-owner of C&M Aquatic Management Group, which is installing the Blue Frogs, said the Stratford lagoon is ideally suited for the units because of its depth.
"This should work extremely well," he said.
Stratford is spending $1.5 million on the Blue Frogs in the hopes they will solve the problem with the smell from the lagoon.
Each of the big blue unit is tethered to the shore and floats on the wastewater, bobbing on the surface like a buoy as bubbles churn up from below.
Once they are all installed there will be a total of 19 of Blue Frogs in the lagoon.
The Blue Frogs act as small containment units that help break down material away from the lagoon's surface to help reduce the smell.
They use electric motors that turn propellers and move wastewater horizontally to aerate the lagoon.
The units also keep sludge from building up.
A change in the smell should be welcome news for Stratford residents and passing motorists who have had to deal with the persistent stink for several years.
The first of the Blue Frogs went in the lagoon Tuesday and Clark said they start working as soon as they're turned on so it shouldn't take long for residents to notice a difference.
"It pretty much happens right away," he said.
What could take longer is the system dealing with sludge built up over the years, but Clark estimated that could take about six months.
As for what it's like working on the lagoon, Clark said he has to think about something else while he's out there because it's not all that pleasant.
"It's kind of like floating around in a giant toilet."
Stratford Mayor David Dunphy said the town is looking for a long-term solution to the lagoon, but that will be a few years off and, depending on the option, could cost around $10 million.
Those options include building a treatment plant in Stratford or piping the sewage to Charlottetown.
Dunphy said the Blue Frogs will be a medium-term solution.
"It's not a short-term or Band-Aid," he said.
What Clark and his company have been able to provide is an innovative solution to the town's problem, Dunphy said.
"We're very happy with it."