Have we won the Battle of the Pong!?

Pea processing machine, Hull

THREE WEEKS IN to the pea season and there are still no reported foul odours from Yorkshire Water’s Waste Water Treatment Works – so have we won the Battle of the Pong?

Councillor John Dennis in a letter to the Hedon Blog expresses his hopes that Yorkshire Water have been successful in sorting out the problem but urges caution that we must not think that the matter is finished.

In his letter giving his personal overview from a Council Committee, Councillor Dennis states:

  • Yorkshire Water have spent £5.5m in improvements at their Saltend plant;
  • Council environmental officers have been present at the treatment works on a daily basis since the pea season started;
  • Norbert Dentresangle (who operate and manage the pea processing plant in Hull on behalf of Birds Eye) are cooperating with Yorkshire Water and the Council on restricting the flow of ‘pea liquor’ down the sewers.

However, Councillor Dennis also urges residents to be vigilant and report any odours over the next few weeks –  and again next summer. He comments on this year’s unusually wet summer and advises “It will only be when we get through a normal, reasonably dry summer, that we will be able to say the Battle of the Pong is won!”

We reproduce the Councillor’s letter in full below for residents interest and information, and thank him for keeping us all updated:

From East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) Ward Member, Cllr. John Dennis, S.W.Holderness

As promised I’m keeping ‘bloggers’ up to speed with the developments at the Yorkshire Water (YW) Saltend Stench Works!

When I was elected to ERYC last May, I was allocated a seat on the Environment and Regeneration (Overview and Scrutiny) Sub Committee. I spoke at yesterday’s (18th July – Ed) meeting of the committee. Saltend Wastewater Treatment Works (WwTW) was high on the list of topics for consideration and YW had 2 senior representatives there for a grilling together with Senior Officers of the Council.

YW advised the Committee that their £5.5 Million worth of improvements were now all up and running, including the fancy new Odour Control Unit (I resist using the expression ‘state of the art’ because we thought we had that when the plant was constructed) So – all in all – it seems that YW has done what they promised, and a little bit more perhaps. Hopefully they have been successful in sorting out the problem

The Council now has Environmental Officers down at Saltend on a daily basis since the Pea Season started 3 weeks ago, and they have spent time also in the local communities seeking out any odd odours. ERYC is therefore keeping its part of the bargain.

The third party to this problem is of course, the company that produces the material that causes the smell – Norbert Dentresangle (ND), a massive French company who took over Christian Salvesen. They process 60,000 tons of fresh peas each summer, sending the waste material down the tunnel to Saltend WwTW. Over the years the smell from the plant has got worse and worse, until last year it was so bad, local people had to cancel garden events, BBQ’s etc, and the complaints to ERYC and YW reached record levels.

Norbert’s have permits to discharge their pea effluent to the sewers, as do many manufacturers in all sorts of industries, and they have stringent conditions to which they must adhere. After recent discussions with YW and ERYC, they have apparently agreed to restrict the flow of waste vegetable matter, which will enable the treatment works to handle it better, and even further they are now holding back the strongest ‘pea liquor’ which is the major cause of the chemical reaction giving rise to the pong. I hope they continue to co-operate with the authorities to help bring the Saltend Stench to an end.

So, all in all, it appears that major progress has been made, and I thank the three parties for their commitment to sorting out our problems. There have apparently been no complaints to YW, and ERYC has had only one, which to be fair, when investigated, was not attributed to Saltend.

We mustn’t think the matter is finished though. We must appreciate three things,

  1. The pea season started later than usual because of the appalling summer weather,
  2. The harvest is not a great one for the same reason – although it may improve as the weeks progress, and
  3. The amount of rain we have had has made the flow of pea residue much more dilute, which of course also makes it easier to treat.

I expressed my appreciation in committee for what has been done so far, but we should all continue to be alert to any unusual odours over the next few weeks, and again next summer. It will only be when we get through a normal, reasonably dry summer, that we will be able to say the Battle of the Pong is won!

As always, the numbers to phone to advise of smells are – YW 0845 1 242424, and ERYC 01482 396301

3 replies »

  1. Between Monday 30th July and Sunday 5th August 2012 Yorkshire Water say they have received TWO ‘unverified contacts’ about odours.

    It is really important to report any smells straight away if you can – and if you have to ring later, give as much detail as you can about the location of the smell, duration of the smell and anything else that might help identify the source (which way was the wind blowing, describe the smell, etc).

    I can see that the term ‘unverified’ might be one that will be used to devalue some complaints!

    Unfortunately, we need to remain vigilant and become more adept at complaining!

  2. That’s disappointing Phil.

    I was away on that day, so wasn’t aware there had been an incident.

    Did you lodge a complaint ?

  3. The smell in the air tonight is unbelievable, I have had to shut all the windows in the house. I live in the village of Preston, this smell is make me feel ill.

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