Water bosses grilled over 'vile odour'

ANGLIAN Water has been told it faces being taken to court unless it makes progress in reducing vile odours coming from an Ipswich sewage plant.The warning came at a public meeting where furious residents living near the Cliff Quay works in Raeburn Road South grilled Anglian Water bosses on sewage stenches they have been forced to endure since 2004.

ANGLIAN Water has been told it faces being taken to court unless it makes progress in reducing vile odours coming from an Ipswich sewage plant.

The warning came at a public meeting where furious residents living near the Cliff Quay works in Raeburn Road South grilled Anglian Water bosses on sewage stenches they have been forced to endure since 2004.

Anglian Water said it has already spent more than £1million trying to fix the problem.

However angry residents claim foul smells are still making their lives a misery and house prices are suffering.

Speaking at the meeting on Thursday night Laurence Collins, director of environment at Ipswich Borough Council, told the water company it faces consequences if it fails to adequately address the whiff.

Mr Collins said: “If we need to take legal action we will do so.

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“We decided last year to work with Anglian Water rather than force them into a corner by taking legal action.

“They have delivered some elements of our agreement and I hope in the next few months that we will be able to say they have made more progress with that agreement but if we are not satisfied we will take action.

Paul Gibbs, waste water operations director at Anglian Water, said much had been done to reduce odour levels and the company remained dedicated to addressing residents' concerns.

“We had a commitment to achieve certain aspects of work by April which we have done but we haven't got to a point where we have eliminated odour to an acceptable level.

“We will continue to do that through investment and if that means over and above the level we have set out in our agreement with the council we will do that.”

Kit Leese, plant manager at Cliff Quay, said money had been spent modifying operations, covering sludge treatment tanks and investigating the network of sewage pipes around Ipswich.

“We are continuing with improvements on the network and all aspects of the sewage treatment process,” Mr Leese said.

An update on the situation is expected in August when Anglian Water carries out further tests to gauge the success of its attempts to reduce odours.

n. Is south east Ipswich the only area with an odour problem? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Weblinks:

www.ipswich.gov.uk

www.anglianwater.co.uk

In Summary - What's the Problem?

Anglian Water said the current smell situation has arisen after dumping raw sludge at sea and in rivers was banned by European legislation.

As a result sewage treatment works are now required to clean sludge to the required standard so it can be dispensed of as fertiliser.

However this treatment method creates unpleasant odours.

Paul Gibbs, of Anglian Water, said it was not possible to treat sewage in this manner without creating some kind of odour.

He said: “To have no odour at all would mean completely enclosing the plant and that is not possible because of the biological way the treatment happens.

“If the plant was covered there would be deterioration in the building because acids would be created in the process.”

Mr Gibbs said government is aware of the situation and offers funding to allow water companies to tackle odours but Anglian Water had failed to secure a “significant” amount.

He said:“There are exactly the same issues in Europe as in the UK and we are leading the field in developing odour control but it goes without saying there is a lot more to do.”

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