Home » £30m action plan to tackle Yorkshire Water stench announced

£30m action plan to tackle Yorkshire Water stench announced

Yorkshire Water Smells news
Tribute paid by MP to resident-led stench campaign

GRAHAM STUART MP has welcomed news of what he says is “Yorkshire Water’s comprehensive action plan” to tackle odours from its Saltend waste water treatment plant. He has also paid tribute to the resident-led campaign that has helped prompt the water company into action.

Following a recurrence of the stench from the plant this summer, protests by local people led to East Riding of Yorkshire Council issuing an abatement order to the company to compel it to address the long-running problem. Graham has campaigned for action to address the problem for many years, in conjunction with affected residents.

Yorkshire Water has today announced a £30 million action plan consisting of 50 different improvements to improve how the waste water that comes into the site is treated.

Responding, Graham said:

“Today’s announcement is great news for the people of Saltend and the surrounding area who have had to put up with horrible smells from Yorkshire Water’s plant on-and-off for years. They deserve huge credit for campaigning long and hard to get the changes they need and I’m delighted for them.

“Yorkshire Water have now acknowledged that the smells affecting local people are unacceptable and I’m pleased they have made this decisive commitment to bring it to an end – as well as promising a £75,000 community fund to thank residents for their patience.

“The investment announced today hopefully marks the final chapter of the Saltend stench – although the acid test will be to ensure there is no repeat of the smell next summer. It feels like a good day for the whole area.”

5 thoughts on “£30m action plan to tackle Yorkshire Water stench announced

  1. I expect residents will be looking forwards to Yorkshire Water setting out their latest Action Plan on their website and that this is easily locatable to all who wish to access it. As an underwriting of £30m has been presented, the sequencing of the works involved has evidently been scoped and costed and therefore the detailed component parts could be set out on a timeline, with milestones – such as the lidding of the first tanks – established.

    I looked on the website today:


    which sets out a now dated plan of action, as at 9 September 2015. The major line of action here though seems to be increasing processing capacity by 25%.

    Is this going to be the main effort and expense?

    Many will probably wish to learn that the lidding of the existing tanks and other odour elimination measures are activated before any extra capacity etc worsens the current situation.

    It is strange that part of ‘where we are’ is attributed to unexpected and or unforeseen high loads. Why is this? Who or what is accountable? If the existing infrastructure is incapable of coping, all planners really need to be taking this into account before recommending the approval, or otherwise, of new sources of foul water waste.

    It is arguably also disappointing that Yorkshire Water’s parent organization does not seem to profile the Saltend situation anywhere on its website:


    Perhaps they should be encouraged to do so.

    1. Yorkshire Water had a good day for its public relations yesterday! BUT I share your caution, Jim.

      On the local TV news yesterday Nick Topham the latest spokesman for Yorkshire Water repeated the familiar company line: “Because of the nature of the site as a sewage works there will always be some odour…”.

      The suspicion is that the £30m is a convenient investment for YW at a time when the site needs to expand its capacity to cope with the now expected (previously ‘unforeseen’) increased loads every year. I’m sure that with the help of their independent international experts YW will have developed a plan to build that capacity. However, this is very different from the starting point being “We must eliminate odours”.

      We have been here before in 2011. Then we were delighted at the £3.5m investment into odour control – it took only 4 years for this to unravel. Therefore we should not necessarily be dazzled by the figure of £30m investment into the site. The devil is in the detail yet to be revealed, but I would be surprised if the 50 point improvement plan is designed solely towards odour control.

      Whilst we won’t believe anything YW says about the site not smelling, I might be more re-assured if the independent international consultants employed by them were to issue a statement to that effect. And then further, if the ERYC were to verify that this is likely be the case.

      Worse case scenario – history repeats itself again in a few years – with the now familiar patten we’ve seen over the last 15 years: Odours – complaints – protests – more investment…

      On the Kelda Group website… odours, protests, abatement orders – perhaps not the best advert for an organisation that offers secure and stable returns to its international investors!

      1. Indeed Ray. Still watching for new detail on the lines of action to meaningfully reduce the stench on the Yorkshire Water website. Also looking on the Yorkshire Water Facebook at:


        which also offers a comment facility.

        Focussing on the thus far asserted Yorkshire Water Aim of having additional enhanced chemical dosing in the lamellas, together with a new control regime for Sequence Batch Reactors installed in time for peak season next year (2016), if more advanced systems are already available as is claimed, the man on the street will wonder why these cannot be applied sooner. EYRC and its officers should be so too.

  2. The full press release from Yorkshire Water:
    Yorkshire Water reveals £30m action plan to tackle odours from Saltend treatment works:

    Yorkshire Water is today announcing a comprehensive action plan to tackle odours from its Saltend waste water treatment works.

    In July the company announced a full review of the site aimed at identifying what was needed to prevent a reoccurrence of the odour problems that affected residents in Hedon, Preston and surrounding areas earlier this year.

    Following detailed investigations carried out with the help of independent international experts, the company has developed a £30m action plan consisting of around 50 different improvements which will improve how the waste water that comes into the site is treated. The company has committed to delivering a significant amount of the improvements by summer 2016.

    Yorkshire Water is also looking to work with its industrial customers in the area to trial new measures to help control the quality and quantity of waste water that arrives at the Saltend site.

    In order to provide added assurance that the odour problems of this summer will not be repeated, the company is also looking at options to put lids on the tanks to the rear of the site where the biological treatment process takes place. Whilst there are still technical challenges to overcome, putting lids on the tanks would mean that the air released by the treatment process would be captured and treated by new odour control units to remove any odours before it is released to the atmosphere.

    Nick Topham, Yorkshire Water’s Programme Director for East Riding and Hull said, “We understand that the odours from our treatment works last summer were unacceptable. In July we committed to investing in the site to prevent it happening again. Today we are announcing a comprehensive investment plan that will deliver on that commitment.”

    “The improvements to the way we treat waste water on the site would be sufficient to ensure we can treat the loads coming into site without a repeat of the odour issues, but we want to go further to ensure we have additional protection for the local community. Putting lids on the tanks is technically challenging but we are committed to doing everything we can to provide reassurance to local people that the odour problems will not be repeated.”

    In order to thank local residents for their patience whilst the investment is carried out the company is setting up a £75,000 community fund to provide grants to local organisations for projects in a range of areas including environmental improvements, education and work with vulnerable people.

    The fund will be administered by a committee made up of local community representatives who will decide how money is allocated. Further details of how organisations can apply to the fund will be announced shortly.

  3. It will be interesting to see the details of “Yorkshire Water’s comprehensive action plan”; what proportion of the £30m is specifically targeted at odour control (and is that reduction or elimination?) and how much is general investment to increase the capacity of the of the treatment works?

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