HEAVY continuous rain failed to dampen the protest at the gates of the Yorkshire Water Waste Water Treatment Works at Saltend today. Up to 90 people attended the event to demonstrate opposition to the foul odours from the site many of them wearing masks over their mouths to protect themselves from the stench, some even wore gas masks.
The protest was an accumulation of up to two weeks of obnoxious smells from the site which some have called the Hedon Pong, others the Saltend Stench but in reality the odours originate from the Yorkshire Water site: IT IS THE YORKSHIRE WATER STINK and it is abominable that the places we live are negatively labelled because of that water company’s foul odours.
Protester Terry Read from East Hull described the smells as “sickening; something that makes you feel ill, that sticks to your clothes and lingers in your home forcing you to close the windows.”
Despite the rain there was a great turnout today and local East Riding Councillor John Dennis explained through a microphone the response to the smells agreed by Yorkshire Water on Friday 24th July 2015 following a meeting with local ward and parish councillors, the local MP Graham Stuart and the company.
These are short, medium and long-term measures:
We are currently bringing approximately 17 tanker loads a day of healthy seed bacteria into the site from other waste water treatment works. We are also dosing additional chemicals. Both these actions will help to recover the biological treatment of the plant.
(John Dennis explained in his speech to the protesters that the current effluent load received at the site had been so great that the ‘friendly’ bacteria that effectively eats the odours had been promptly knocked out).
We are looking at permanent or interim solutions that can be delivered before the pea season next year to prevent odour problems. This includes pre-treatment at source in West Hull and additional dosing of chemicals.
(John Dennis: Pre-treatment processes will be agreed with Norbert Dentresangle – the pea factory previously known as Birds Eye – at the factory, before the effluent goes into the sewage system).
We are already on with investigations into multi-million pound long term investment in the site that will improve the capacity of the site over the next few years. This will ensure that the site can cope with increased
loads and can support the growth of the city of Hull.
(John Dennis: The senior Director at the meeting on Friday told us that Yorkshire Water would spend whatever is needed to upgrade the process and sort out the problem, even if that were to be in excess of the £17.5 million they have allocated over the next 5 years).
In addition Graham Stuart MP has written to the East Riding of Yorkshire Council as the responsible local authority asking them to consider financial penalties on Yorkshire Water if they do not prevent the smell from recurring.
Mr Stuart said, “People are sick and tired of having their lives blighted by the vile smell from the Saltend plant. It is unacceptable that they are unable to open their windows or sit out in the garden because Yorkshire Water can’t control the stench from their processing works.
“Yorkshire Water have to understand that this situation cannot simply be repeated year on year. I have written to East Riding Council to ask them how they will protect members of the public from unacceptable smells and specifically how they will hold Yorkshire Water to account so they are incentivised never to let this happen again.”
The same call for action is being supported in an online change.org petition being circulated by Bradley Robinson:
“For many years the general public have endured horrendous odours leaking from the Yorkshire water treatment plant located on Hedon road in Hull. Cases of the odours have been reported from as far away as six miles from the plant. This petition is intended to prompt The East Riding of Yorkshire council to immediately issue an abatement order on Yorkshire water as per the 1990 Environmental protection act which allows any person aggrieved by the existence of a statutory nuisance to seek an order from magistrates requiring the abatement or cessation of the nuisance, and to prohibit its recurrence. Please sign the petition if you, or your family living in the area have been affected by the odours leaking from the treatment plant.”
But above all, it is the actions today by those who attended the protest (thanks to organisers Alex Watts and Dave Freer) and all those who have lodged complaints that have kept this issue on the top of the politicians’ agenda and made the heads of Yorkshire Water aware that ‘enough is enough’ and there will be no going back to what existed before.
We wait to see what action takes place next… and whether residents will need to take action again themselves!
Many thanks to Rachel Cliffe for the photographs and for recording Councillor Dennis’ speech.