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United Utilities apologises for Davyhulme smells
12:00pm Thursday 5th September 2013 in News
UNITED Utilities has apologised to residents in the Urmston area about smells coming from its Davyhulme wastewater treatment plant – and likened it to a case of indigestion.
The company says the problems began earlier this summer with the unusually long, hot spell of dry weather.
Site manager, Lee Donnellan, explained: “It’s been so hot and dry this summer that there’s been a lot less sewage flowing from the Manchester area into the works, and the flows have been much slower than usual.
“That means the waste that does arrive is stronger and it has been hanging around in the sewer system for longer – making it much harder for the works to handle.
“Sewage treatment is a living process, using microbes and bacteria to break down the waste and purify the water.
“You could say our process has had a bad case of indigestion this summer due to the richness of the ‘food’ it has been getting.”
The treatment plant is the largest in the North West and there are two separate treatment streams on the site. Engineers had to take one stream out of service last month to clean it out – meaning the other stream was working at full capacity to treat all of Manchester’s waste.
Both streams are now running as normal but it will take a little time for the process to settle back down again.
Mr Donnellan added: ”We know the plant has been smellier than usual this summer and I do apologise to local residents for that. There’s no instant fix unfortunately, it’s like caring for a sick patient, but it is getting better all the time.
“We’re expecting rain next week which will help in the long run. There may be further odours in the short term though as the extra water flushes through some of the sediment that will have settled out in Manchester’s sewers over the summer.”
The odour treatment systems at the plant are working at full capacity and an independent expert is carrying out an odour survey around the site to help pinpoint any ‘hot spots’ that might need further attention.
Mr Donnellan concluded: ”We are doing everything we can to tackle the issue and I hope to see an improvement over the coming weeks.”
Stretford and Urmston MP Kate Green has written to United Utilities expressing her concern about the situation.
She said: ““I’ve had far too many residents contact me about the awful smell from the treatment works – something which nobody should have to put up with in their own home, whatever the time of year.
“I’m concerned that United Utilities have given no reassurance that the problem won’t happen again next time we have a spell of dry weather.
“They have also said that the smell has improved in recent days – but I think local residents should be the judge of that.
“I will continue to put pressure on United Utilities until the problem is completely resolved.”
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