Yorkshire Water: Anti-odour measures in place – but smarter complaints needed

THE FORUM established to liaise between Yorkshire Water and local councils met yesterday to discuss the measures put in place to dispel pea-season odours from the Hull Waste Water Treatment Works on Hedon Road.

There was a confidence that the three odour control units at the site will operate efficiently backed up by additional measures to dose effluent at different parts of the cleaning process with deodorising chemicals. A ‘suite’ of spare parts are available on site in case any component part of essential machinery breaks down and boundary sprays will be activated if the need arises to reduce ‘drive-by’ smells i.e. those detected by motorists and travellers passing by the site itself.

Report the Smells Box-001Yorkshire Water also revealed new plans to work with its industrial partners to explore ways that the ‘load’ (potentially smelly effluent) arriving at the treatment works from industrial sources can actually be reduced.

The hope is that there will be no serious odour problems this year. But Yorkshire Water are aiming to be smarter with its complaints handling systems. Its ‘odour control watch’ system allows for alert points to be set up so that information can be gathered promptly in case of an odour incident. The company does have a network of contacts and former complainants that can and do quickly alert the company to an incident.

The company also explained what happens when an odour complaint is received by Yorkshire Water on their Customer Helpline on 0845 1 24 24 24.

  • The call centre is now able to quickly identify the location of a caller and whether it is an odour complaint.
  • Essential information collected at this stage includes the location of the odour incident and the time it occurred.
  • The call is then assessed by a case worker at the Waste Water Treatment Works who will verify whether the site is the likely cause of the odour incident, using wind speed and direction calculations, prompting an investigation on site if needed to any likely causes of odours.
  • If the caller has agreed, they will quite often receive a call back saying what has resulted from the complaint.

The key to this process is ‘smart complaints’ – callers must be prepared to give full details of any odour incident (exact time, your location when you smelled the odour, try to describe what the smell was like and how long the smell lasted). The best time to ring is at the moment you experience the smell.

By being smarter complainers and a more effective ‘network of noses’; the likelihood increases of any prompt remedial action needed at the site taking place.

In response to those who have found the two phone numbers – Yorkshire Water on their Customer Helpline on 0845 1 24 24 24 and East Riding Council on 01482 396301 – difficult to get through to, then the Hedon Blog would encourage complaints to be also e-mailed to Environmental Health Officers at East Riding of Yorkshire Council at pollution.control@eastriding.gov.uk

FixMyStreet was also used in 2011 to report odour complaints in a very public way!

But remember – whichever method you use – the important thing is to give as much information as you can about the odour incident!

Hopefully we will not need the complaints system this year and the pea-season will pass by un-noticed and odour-free!

….. but just in case, the demonstration planned at the gates of Waste Water Treatment Works on Saturday 2nd August 2014 is still on!

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