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Southern Water apologises for smell from Kennington treatment site as councillor's petition targets Michael Gove

ByCharlie Harman

A water company has apologised for the smell coming from its water treatment works as a councillor has started a petition calling on it to do more to prevent the odours.

Southern Water has received complaints for a number of years relating to a foul smell which wafts over Kennington, near Ashford, from its wastewater treatment site in Kinney’s Lane.

The company removes contaminants, including sewage, from water at the site, which is one of 368 facilities.

Southern Water's facility purifies wastewater, which can clog pipes with fat. (3841849)
Southern Water's facility purifies wastewater, which can clog pipes with fat. (3841849)

The ‘bio-solids’ are then used in fertiliser while the wastewater is safe enough to be returned to the environment.

The most recent bout of bad aromas has prompted Little Burton Farm Cllr Marion Martin (Con) to begin a petition, asking the company to “take measurable action to remove or treat the foul odour”.

Attracting 200 signatures in its first four days, it aims to get Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment, involved in the issue.

Despite the water company cleaning pipes, installing smell-stopping carbon filters and sealing manhole covers, residents still feel that the stink is too strong.

Cllr Martin said: “The reason I’m doing it is because we have already approached the local government, MP and Southern Water and it’s still not resolved.

Cllr Marion Martin represents Little Burton Farm and opposes the aroma
Cllr Marion Martin represents Little Burton Farm and opposes the aroma

“My estate’s only been up for 20 to 25 years and people have paid a lot of money to live there.

"I can’t say too much, I’ve just got to keep trying because in the plans there’s some more homes coming up in Kennington and this is a terrifying situation to be in.”

A spokesman for Southern Water said: “We understand odour from sewage treatment works can have an impact on the quality of the local environment for those living close by and would like to apologise unreservedly to residents who have been affected by increased smells from our Kennington wastewater treatment works.

“Sewage treatment works are essential for maintaining standards in water quality, however we have a duty to ensure we are doing everything we can to reduce the impact of our vital operations on nearby residents.

Residents and councillors visited the Southern Water sewage treatment works in Kinney's Lane, Ashford, in October last year
Residents and councillors visited the Southern Water sewage treatment works in Kinney's Lane, Ashford, in October last year

“Following an increase in reports of odour in 2017, we undertook investigations into the possible cause. This established two areas at the treatment works which could have caused the odours.

“To reduce the possibility of odours emanating from these areas we installed odour suppression units, which release an odour neutraliser, and undertook a complete refurbishment of our odour control plant on site.”

The utility company has also undertaken monitoring exercises on site and from nearby residences, with all the collected data being compiled this week.

The spokesman added: “Weather conditions, wind direction and any other exceptional activities on site are recorded twice a day. We also record all customer contact.

"This information is then used to identify any correlation with odour complaints.

“We have twice installed odour loggers at four properties on the Little Burton Estate from which odour reports have been received. The data from the loggers show periodical readings for H2S, which is an indication of the presence of odours.

“We continue to do all we can to firmly identify any causes of odours and eliminate them.”

The petition has a target of 400 signatures. To sign it, click here.

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