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Nasty niff hits Felixstowe

PUBLISHED: 12:11 05 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:37 03 March 2010

THEY'VE got their noses in the air, and to the ground, but they just cannot find out what is causing the latest smell festering in Felixstowe.

It has already caused the evacuation of a school, prompted worried calls to gas companies and now the council has two officers trying to get to the bottom of it.

THEY'VE got their noses in the air, and to the ground, but they just cannot find out what is causing the latest smell festering in Felixstowe.

It has already caused the evacuation of a school, prompted worried calls to gas companies and now the council has two officers trying to get to the bottom of it.

It is not the resort's infamous West End whiff – the all-pervading stink from its sewage treatment works – and it's not some pungent pong from something being delivered at the port.

It's something quite different and its source is proving a real mystery.

Recently, the gaseous odour prompted Fairfield Infants School to evacuate its pupils for most of the afternoon while gas officials checked the buildings.

Doreen Bartlett, head teacher of the school in High Road West, said no reason had been found for the smell.

"We decided we could not take the risk because it was so pungent and so we evacuated the school and called Transco," said Mrs Bartlett.

"They checked all our gas sources and appliances but gave us the all-clear.

"I was concerned there might be a leakage but we followed our noses round the school and could not give them any clear direction of where it was coming from – it just seemed to be everywhere. But they told us we were right to be cautious even though they could not find out what it was.

"Today we could smell it again but then someone told us it was all over the town centre, too."

One resident who contacted The Evening Star said: "I could smell it on the seafront on Tuesday night but just thought it was the West End whiff. It was very strong, sort of like old drains or stale gas."

Suffolk Coastal council chairman Doreen Savage said it was not believed that the gas was dangerous but it was certainly mysterious.

"It doesn't appear to be confined to one part of the town and at times it is all over – that means it could be blowing in from somewhere else," she said.

"We have two council officers working on it and they have checked all the obvious sources, but we are determined to find out what is causing it."

Those sources so far ruled out include the port, the Calor Gas terminal, gas leakages, and the West End whiff. Anyone smelling the smell or has any information can contact the council on its Hotline on 01394 444427, but if they are concerned over a genuine gas problem, then Transco should be contacted.

The West End whiff should be cured this autumn when a new odour-control system is built by Anglian Water plc as part of a sludge belt thickening plant at the sewage treatment works off Walton Avenue.

WEBLINK: www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk

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