Gunnison School’s Aroma Improves

Brief by Central Staff

Education – April 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Gunnison School’s Aroma Improves

The great odor mystery in the elementary wing of the new Gunnison Community School may have been solved.

For 18 months, ever since the school opened, a sewage stench has pervaded that wing, even causing illness among some teachers and students.

The school district, the building contractor, and a lot of other interested people looked for the source, and at first focused on a vent pipe that was near an air intake.

But changing that didn’t eliminate the aroma.

This time around, the suspect is a grease trap in the school kitchen. Although it met building code, it stayed too warm to allow grease to coagulate, and liquid grease is more aromatic than solid tallow. Also, the garbage disposal flowed into the grease trap, which added to the aromatic potential.

The garbage disposal’s drain has been re-routed, and the grease trap has been vented, so that cool Gunnison air will chill the grease and reduce its emissions. The trap’s temperature will be monitored as the weather warms, and if the grease starts to melt, another vent will be installed.

As of March 11, the school had been odor-free for two weeks. First grade teacher Candi Borah told the Gunnison Country Times that she was still holding her breath — not on account of the smell, but because “I’m just afraid to say anything about it. I don’t want it to come back.”