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Apology following increased smell at Thatcham-based sewage works

Two units controlling odour break down at same time

Apology following increased smell at Thatcham-based sewage works

THAMES Water has apologised for any increased smell in Thatcham after its equipment controlling odour broke down.

Two odour-control units at the sewage treatment works on Lower Way broke down in February. 

Speaking at a recent Thatcham Town Council meeting, David Lister (Lib Dem, Thatcham West) said he was flabbergasted to learn that the two units had failed at the same time. 

And he was told that it could take up to 10 months to replace the smell-combatting equipment. 

Mr Lister said that he had visited the site on May 3 to learn more about its capacity but learned of the failed odour units instead.  

He said that the day after his visit, Thames Water had agreed to spend £500,000 on replacing the equipment.  

Rob Denton Powell (Con, Thatcham South and Crookham) asked whether the company had breached any regulations at the site.

He said: “I find it incredible that they are talking about spending £500,000. I just know most companies would not spend that type of money unless there was a problem.”

Mr Lister replied: “They are not in breach.

“There’s an odour nuisance and when that’s been proven West Berkshire Council can do an enforcement.

“That may be relatively lenient – you can’t shut down the sewer works.

“For a start they are taking in tankers from elsewhere.

“If a large number of complaints come in could they go to another plant for processing?

“They aren’t driven by competition, only by regulation and scrutiny.

“I would really encourage residents who are impacted by it to complain.”

Mr Lister said he left feeling uncertain about the scrutiny process and how complaints were handled.  

He said: “West Berkshire Council are the responsible authority for noise or odour enforcement.

“The first part is getting residents engaged, without that I don’t think the council can do much either.”    

Thames Water said in a statement: “We’re sorry for any increase in smell from our site.

“We’ll be replacing the old odour control units which have stopped working with the latest innovative technology to keep the smell from the sewage works to a minimum in future and will get this done as soon as we can.

“Unfortunately, there is no manual operation that can do the job of the odour control units, but we have changed some our processes at the works to reduce the number of times we have to open the doors to the smelliest part of the site.”

The company said that it had immediately begun researching and gathering quotes for replacements after the units broke.

Complaints can be made to Thames Water by emailing customer.feedback@thameswater.co.uk or calling 0800 3169800.

If this is not resolved, contact ehadvice@westberks.gov.uk or call (01635) 519192.

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