Area Of Hwy 54 Where There's A Bad Smell In Osage Beach

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. — The sewage smell on Osage Beach Parkway and Highway 54 near Passover Road — and unfortunately near several restaurants — isn’t caused by sewage leaks and has caused no damage to Lake of the Ozarks, the City of Osage Beach says. City officials also say it’s not going away any time soon.

What Happened?

In September of 2022, a sinkhole broke a sewer main line leading to one of the city's largest lift stations.

“Everything from Tan-Tar-A to Margaritaville, all the way up the parkway and everything on the west side of the bridge goes through that station,” said Assistant City Administrator Mike Welty.

The break was temporarily repaired by an above-ground bypass (rather than a typical underground line). Damage from the sinkhole would have made it twice as expensive to run a new stretch of line in the same path as the old one.

“All of the line that went down the road was ruined because of the sinkhole; it was all full of debris,” Welty said. “We couldn't use that anymore. So it was either dig it all up and put it back in the ground where it was, which was going to be twice as expensive to do, or find a better route to get the sewer down to the station.”

A Long-Term Fix

The City of Osage Beach began planning a permanent solution for the broken line on a new route, but delayed partly due to easement negotiations, the approvals to get the main line repaired dragged into the spring. Once the approvals were in place, the Osage Beach bid out the contract to fix the line permanently, but the city only received back a single bid to complete the project during the summer, and that bid had a high pricetag. According to Welty, this was mostly due to the unique challenges of trying to repair the line during the summer, when usage of the city's sewer system increases dramatically.

“Whoever we hire to do this has to find a way temporarily to get the sewage down the hill to the station,” Welty said. “And frankly, it's almost impossible to do once you get past Memorial Day just because of the influx of vacationers and part-time residents that come into town. Once you get to a point where those flows are that high, the chance of success in diverting flow while you try to work on something like that goes way, way down.”

“We’re just not going to waste the taxpayers dollars by paying an excessive bid especially when we only got the one bid. We can't cross our fingers and hope that a contractor can handle a bypass literally at one of the peak months of the year. It's too much to ask for a contractor to do that. And so it just makes more sense for us to wait,” Welty said.

So, due to the high expense and risk of repairing the line during the summer, the City is opting to wait until winter. According to the City, the bypass is safe to continue to use and isn’t causing leakage but the smell is expected to continue through the summer.

Weather damage to UV lights used in sewer treatment has also caused an increase in sewage smell. According to Welty, the lights have been replaced and the city is installing new equipment to help mitigate the smell through the summer.

“We've now installed a blower, a carbon-scrubbing blower to do double duty on the odor control. Now we've never had a blower on that station before, so we do feel like it will help. But we're not going to get back to normal until we can get that line buried,” Welty said.

“We try to be transparent here and we want the same thing that you want. We want the same thing that everybody wants and that is for that to not smell in that area. We've done everything we can and much of what happened is out of our control. A sinkhole is not normal; it’s not something you would expect to see, but we deal with it and we adjust and figure it out.”

XTow Captain's Club Membership!

Don't Worry. Boat Happy.

FREE Boat Tows When You Break Down
FREE Battery Jumps
Save 10¢ Per Gallon On Boat Gas!
FREE Soft Ungroundings

1 YR Membership Only $159!
Call Us: 573-723-3220‬