TONIGHT across teatime, residents representing the Stench at Saltend protest group will meet with Yorkshire Water who wish to explain the work they are doing to resolve the odour issues.
Using the power of social media the representatives have collected a list of pertinent questions raised by the public and will seek to formally raise these with the water company. At past public visits to the site, participants have been asked to don hard hats, goggles, industrial gloves and boots in order tour the facility and it is expected that this opportunity will also be offered today.
Whilst it is hoped that the visit will signal the start of better communications between aggrieved residents and the Yorkshire Water, it has not been enough to stop residents organising the next protest at the site gates. Organised after a popular online poll to ensure a maximum turn out, the resident PROTEST will take place on SATURDAY 22nd AUGUST 2015 at the gates of Yorkshire Water from 12pm noon until 2pm.
Bradley Robinson from the residents’ group urged: “Everyone is welcome to attend including children. And bring your banners, gas masks, and voices!” He reminded everyone that the protest would be a peaceful affair.
The list of questions (see Facebook) raised by residents make the meeting tonight a key event enabling Yorkshire Water to hear first hand the concerns of customers who feel their summer experience, their enjoyment of their homes and property – and in some cases their health – has been blighted by the foul odours which have been variously described as smelling like sewage or ‘rotten eggs’.
The resident representatives, amongst other issues, will be asking about Yorkshire Water’s ability to reduce its capacity. Can the company reduce the amount of effluent from the sewers entering the site, and the amounts of sludge shipped in from other areas, in order to reduce odours.
Yorkshire Water have announced that they are shipping in tankers of odour-eating bacteria into the site to use in their odour control unit – residents ask whether that good bacteria could be stockpiled or perhaps even produced on site as a measure against future incidents.
Significantly, considering the protest group’s legend “Fix it, move it, or close it!” and Yorkshire Water’s assertion that “due to the nature of the site, there will always be some odours”, a question will ask whether a new site could be developed that is away from people and the Saltend Waste Water Treatment Works eventually closed down.
Hedon Blog comment:
In light of the current odour incidents when Yorkshire Water say “we have received more concentrated volumes of waste water in a short period than we have ever received before. At several points the works has been receiving flows of waste water far beyond the capacity it was designed to treat”, then it will be the case that Yorkshire Water officers responsible for the site will be making a case internally for the investment necessary to ensure that the site can cope with expected future capacity. Councillor John Dennis has stated “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.”
Perhaps now is the time for the public, politicians and Yorkshire Water itself to raise the prospect for a ZERO-ODOURS solution to the problem of Waste Water Treatment which would certainly push the investment needed beyond the £17.5m indicated.
A pattern has emerged throughout the history of the Saltend works which sees odour incidents followed by a public outcry, and then Yorkshire Water invests in a solution. In fact a cynic would say that odour incidents have provided the context for expansion of the site. The time has now come to search for a solution that doesn’t just satisfy Yorkshire Water’s capacity and investment problems – but instead looks at it from the point of view of local residents, and the needs and necessities of local communities and businesses.
Nobody will believe Yorkshire Water if they declared a plan to design a plant that would eliminate odours completely, so at the company’s expense, an independent study should be carried out by independent industry consultants, monitored by public authorities, into a zero odours solution that could explore ‘fixing’ and developing the site (would this require additional planning permission?) but also look at other solutions that would involve a super site being built elsewhere.
The Hedon Blog is aware, prompted by the heightened negative media exposure, that Yorkshire Water has received several enquiries from water industry consultants each with their own preferred options and ideas for resolving the odour problems. The skills and expertise do exist to design a site that is fit for the next century. And Yorkshire Water certainly has the broad financial shoulders to afford such a project!
Investment into how Yorkshire Water treats its waste water effluent – yes! But local communities through their resident and other representatives and politicians need to have more control over these long-term investment plans.