Smelling Like Roses

Melissa Stagnaro

People think that Oxford is always comparing itself to Norwich. That’s just not the case. The true rivalry is with Greene. At least it was when I was in school back in the days before time. You can imagine, then, my dismay when I learned during tour of Greene’s waste water treatment facility earlier this week, that Greene’s *&%# really doesn’t stink.

I’ll admit it. I wasn’t looking forward to the tour. But I needed to gather information for a story, so I sucked it up and made the call to the Village of Greene’s Superintendent of Public Works Bob Nowalk.

I was kind of hoping he’d tell me not to come down. Instead, he offered to make time in his schedule later that day to give me a full tour. How could I have said no? (No, really. How?)

I drove very slowly all the way from Norwich to Greene. I used my extra travel time to practice breathing through my mouth.

As it turned out, I needn’t have bothered. Both of the lift stations Bob showed me, as well as the treatment plant itself, were virtually odor free. I don’t mean this in the way that advertisers say those excruciatingly painful hair removal products are “virtually pain free.” It really did not smell.

I was left thinking: “Why the heck not?” After all, you only need to drive down Route 12 through Oxford at the right (or wrong) time to know that our *&%# DOES stink.

While Bob provided the technical explanation, siting Greene’s anaerobic process vs Oxford’s aerobic process, I struggled with it until he brought it down to terms I could more easily understand.

“If you stir the *&%#,” Bob said, “It’s gonna stink.”

One thing we’ve always been good at in Oxford is stirring it up.