£30m plan launched to ‘banish the stink’

The �3.5m odour control unit which was installed at Saltend four years ago. Picture: Richard Bird Photography
The �3.5m odour control unit which was installed at Saltend four years ago. Picture: Richard Bird Photography
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Yorkshire Water has launched a £30m plan to combat the stink from a waste water treatment plant near Hull “for once and for all.”

There have been complaints ever since the plant at Saltend opened 15 years ago, but people living in Hedon and Preston say it has been getting worse despite multi-million pound attempts to solve the problem.

In August YW was served with an abatement order after an investigation by East Riding Council confirmed it was causing a statutory nuisance.

The £30m action plan consists of around 50 different improvements, a “significant” amount of which should be in place by next summer, YW said.

One of the options involves the “technically challenging” move to put lids on the tanks at the rear of the site where the biological treatment takes place and install a new odour control unit.

Nick Topham, Yorkshire Water’s Programme Director for East Riding and Hull said the smells had been “unacceptable” and some of the treatment processes had been “swamped” by the amount of waste coming into the plant over the summer.

He said there had been a team of 20 people including international experts trying to resolve the problem. They would be upgrading units to deal with bigger flows, working with industrial customers on pre-treatment plans, as well as exploring the viability of covering the 40m wide tanks at the rear of the site.

Around £15m would be spent by next summer on areas including upgrading aeration equipment so the bugs tackling the waste have enough oxygen.

He said the scale of the plan was “completely different” to what had been tried before, adding: “We are focussed on solving the problem - it is the number one priority for the board and the chief executive.

“I know people have experiences over a number of years - but this time we are going to sort it out for once and for all.”

YW also announced a £75,000 community fund “to thank local residents for their patience.”

Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart said: “Today’s announcement is great news for the people of Saltend and the surrounding area who have had to put up with horrible smells from Yorkshire Water’s plant on-and-off for years. They deserve huge credit for campaigning long and hard to get the changes they need and I’m delighted for them.

“Yorkshire Water have now acknowledged that the smells affecting local people are unacceptable and I’m pleased they have made this decisive commitment to bring it to an end – as well as promising a £75,000 community fund to thank residents for their patience.

“The investment announced today hopefully marks the final chapter of the Saltend stench – although the acid test will be to ensure there is no repeat of the smell next summer. “