On Monday night, AWES CEO Ross E. Pope gave the Lowell City Council a sneak preview of what his team of experts uncovered when it came to the progressive failure of the wastewater pretreatment and biodigester plant at 625 Chatham St.

Work crews at Lowell biodigester powerwash the wastewater pretreatment tank.

Work crews at the 625 Chatham plant of Advanced Water & Energy Solutions were busy Wednesday powerwashing components and the inside of the 175,000-gallon tank that is being prepared for the proposed treatment of wastewater from Litehouse Foods Inc.

New managers of the Lowell biodigester have identified the cause of the terrible stench as being the progressive failure of media cells within the pretreatment tank.

At the conclusion of a 3-month study, AWES has identified a primary root cause of the terrible stench emitted by the 625 Chatham Street plant last year as being the progressive failure of media cells within the pretreatment tank.

On some days, several trucks visit the Litehouse Foods Inc. plant in Lowell to ferry tens of thousands of gallons of wastewater stored in front of the plant to a wastewater treatment facility in Muskegon County more than 40 miles away.

Advanced Water & Energy Solutions LLC (AWES) officials say that the most robust, quickest and least expensive way to solve the wastewater disposal needs of Litehouse Foods Inc. is pretreatment of wastewater at the Lowell Power & Light facility at 625 Chatham St.

With capacity to treat about 1.5 million gallons of wastewater a day, the Lowell wastewater treatment plant at 300 Bowes St. is considered small in relation to other such facilities that service cities such as Grand Rapids and Detroit.