What is the source of the odor in West Fargo in the spring?

The City of West Fargo utilizes a 460-acre network of waste stabilization ponds near 12th Avenue N. to treat wastewater (water that has been used in the home, in a business, or as part of an industrial process) that comes from the sewer system. During the transition from winter to spring, the ponds can emit a strong, unpleasant odor as the normal, organic treatment process restarts.

  • During the winter, ice forms along the top of the lagoons, eliminating the oxygen supply and stopping the normal aerobic treatment to breakdown waste.
  • Because of this, a sludge of undigested biological matter forms on the bottom of the lagoon.
  • When temperatures warm up, the sludge moves to the top of the lagoon where the ice has melted and a strong, unpleasant odor is released into the air.
  • However, the warming temperatures also stimulate the growth of algae, which eats up the source of the smell and helps to restore the normal process.
  • This may occur multiple times if the temperatures rise and fall during the spring warm up, but the final cycle usually last two weeks.
  • The Department of Health monitors the smell from the ponds and the odor has never reached a level that causes alarm.

For information about the city’s plans to send wastewater to the City of Fargo for treatment and decommission the lagoons, visit http://westfargond.gov/757/Connection-to-City-of-Fargo-Wastewater-S

City of West Fargo Waste Stabilization Ponds Fact Sheet

Show All Answers

1. Who should I contact if I have a complaint associated with excess garbage?
2. Who do I contact about a street light being out?
3. When is my garbage and recycling collection day?
4. Who do I contact if I have a question about a current city construction project?
5. How do I request City water or sewer services to be installed at my property?
6. What should I do if I have a drainage problem in my backyard?
7. When do I need a building permit?
8. My neighbor is pushing his snow into the street, can he do this?
9. Are there any commercial properties available in West Fargo?
10. I need to dig in my yard, do I need to call someone?
11. What does it mean when the sirens are activated in West Fargo?
12. Can I have my utility bill emailed to me?
13. How can I pay my utility bill?
14. How do I stop utility services for my property because I'm moving?
15. Will the city locate property lines?
16. Who should I contact if a snow plow damaged my property during the snow plow season?
17. What materials are recyclable?
18. Are there materials that I can't put in my garbage bin?
19. What is the source of the odor in West Fargo in the spring?
20. Does the City of West Fargo collect yard waste or compost materials from the curb?
21. How can I dispose of debris after a storm?