EAST RIDING COUNCIL have responded to the petition calling for action on Yorkshire Water’s odour problem from its Waste Water Treatment Works. Because future smells may constitute a ‘statutory nuisance’ problem, then local communities would be asked to collect and give reliable evidence of any problems. The Report also raises some unresolved issues about the health impacts of the odours during summer 2011.
In a report responding to the petition presented to the council last month, than East Riding Council recognises “Yorkshire Water’s historic and recent failures of effective controls in managing odours released from their Hull Waste Water” and calls upon local people to assist in providing evidence in any future odour incidents:
“…it is possible that future events may constitute a ‘statutory nuisance’, particularly in areas closer to the site where offensive odours are stronger, and more frequent in nature. The Council would require the full assistance of the local community to evidence nuisance and the adverse impact caused to people’s enjoyment of land or property.”
Part of the evidence that could be relied on to establish a public ‘statutory nuisance’ is witness statements from local residents and diaries kept of their problems.
The Report indicates that should appropriate evidence prompt it, then the council will act quickly on any new incidents and use all relevant powers to hold Yorkshire Water to account for its offensive odours.
People have expressed concerns that their health was affected by the odours, particularly from Hydrogen Sulphide gas, during the summer of 2011. However, the Report does not detail any analysis of on-site samples that were taken at that time. The Report only refers to an earlier report from 2008 and concludes:
“Whilst it is clear that levels of H2S have been detected off site at levels higher than the detection threshold they have not been detected at any level near to that which the lowest levels of health effects are reported by asthmatics.”
At a time of unprecedented odour release and complaints during July and August 2011, then it would have been expected that Yorkshire Water would have taken and analysed on-site samples. This would seem to be an area of the Report were further explanation or investigation is required.
The petition, signed by 2,405 people and calling on Yorkshire Water to be declared a ‘statutory nuisance’ for its odour problems, was formally presented to the East Riding Council on September 21st 2011. The official response to the petition will now be discussed by the Council Environment and Regeneration Overview and Sub-Committee on 2nd November.
The council report is available as a PDF file here Report – Petition 04-11 Smells from Yorkshire Water Treatment Works, Saltend and reproduced as a Scribd document below.