From the Answerman Column

The Answer Man from the Post Bulletin (XXXX, I can’t give away the true identity), called me last Wednesday to inquire about the noise which is present in the Hy-Vee north parking lot. I told him that we were the source of the noise and that we were in the process of replacing the defective gearbox. The  article below appeared in the Post Bulletin over the weekend.

Chet Welle

Answer Man with the Mega-Brain, can you tell me what the incessant hum is that seems to come from north of Hy-Vee North? This irritating resonance seems to come from the local excrement treatment facility. — T. Lund, Rochester

I got this question in late November and made a few calls at the time. Finally I called the “excrement treatment facility,” otherwise know as the city’s Water Reclamation Plant, and manager Chet Welle knew exactly what I was talking about.

“We have a bad gearbox that’s in the process of being replaced,” says Chet. “It’s been ordered and it’s being shipped.” The $40,000 item should arrive in February.

He had a complaint or possibly two, several weeks ago, and checked it out. Turns out there’s a very low-pitched hum that follows a “narrow sound corridor, and I can probably pinpoint exactly where it goes, almost all the way up to Assisi Heights.” They checked out the equipment and found the hum bug was in a two-ton gearbox, which turns a 20-foot-long blade that stirs sludge.

It’s been stirring muck continuously since 1982 — a lot longer than I have — so it’s about time it gives up the ghost.

I’m impressed by the quick customer service at the “excrement treatment facility.” A few complaints, a quick investigation, and a prompt fix for the problem. Not bad.

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