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Norwich MP's call for action on sewage works odour problem

PUBLISHED: 06:30 29 September 2011

Chloe Smith, Norwich North MP

Chloe Smith, Norwich North MP

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A Norwich MP has demanded a water company “once and for all” resolves a problem of foul smells coming from a sewage plant following repeated complaints from families.

For years, people living in the Thorpe St Andrew area have had to put up with a stench drifting over from Anglian Water’s Whitlingham Sewage Treatment Works at Trowse.

The perennial pongs have prompted fed-up families to contact Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, pictured, to take up their case.

The MP yesterday raised their concerns at a public exhibition held by Anglian Water, which says it has invested millions of pounds on improvements and installing new equipment at the plant to eradicate the problem. Miss Smith said: “This really does have to be sorted out.

“This has been a very, very long journey for residents; they are very fed-up and now is absolutely the time for Anglian Water to show they can resolve this. I’m satisfied there’s a process going on. I would like to see things improve quickly, perhaps more quickly, and I know this will not be finished until residents report real improvements. This really does have to be sorted out; it’s been going on for long enough.”

Over the past few years Anglian Water has been working to try to improve the way waste water is treated and, as part of a £23.5m investment, has in 2010/11 completed the first part of the improvements by installing the Cambi and Sharon plants.

The Cambi facility treats solid sewage wastes at the site, while the Sharon site has been designed to treat concentrated liquids which are created by the Cambi process.

Miss Smith, who visited the site in June to find out more about what happens at the treatment works, said: “They think the problem has been better this year, but is not yet totally eradicated. In the course of this year I’ve had assurances to say there’s a process in place to try and solve the problem once and for all.

“They’re part way through that now and I wait for the results of an odour survey which will take place in a few weeks’ time.

“After that, we will repeat this kind of meeting to ascertain that improvements have been made and to gain any further evidence from residents about what’s going on.

”My understanding is that the Cambi plant is a significant improvement and the Sharon plant is quite unique in the world, but I’m afraid we will only see that when we hear it from the residents’ point of view.”

As part of a bid to improve the situation for people living nearby, Anglian Water has introduced a number of odour controls over the past six months.

Biological odour scrubbers, which reduce hydrogen sulphide odours as close to zero as possible, have been put in place, providing a more permanent way to deal with odours following the commissioning of the Cambi plant.

Odour from the main sewage treatment centre is also being passed through the new chemical scrubber to try to reduce smells, while digesters, which break down waste, have also been identified as an odour source and being covered.

A spokesman for Anglian Water said: “We’ve done quite a lot of improvements to deal with some ongoing issues which have been identified.

“We’ve seen vast improvements so we’re going to do another odour survey towards the end of October to identify anything we might have missed. We’re committed to getting this resolved as soon as we can for everyone involved and want to engage with the residents’ to get the best job possible.”

The spokesman added the company was keen to hear from people experiencing problems as it would “help us to help them”.

For more information about the treatment works, log on to www.consultation-online.co.uk/whitlingham, call the dedicated freephone information line on 0800 298 7040 or email questions to feedback@consultation-online.co.uk.

Do you think enough has been done to tackle the problem? Write to Evening News letters at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE, or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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