Anglian Water served notice over Riverfield Drive stink

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Anglian Water van livery
Image: Anglian Water

Anglian Water have been served an abatement order notice after failing to reduce the level of smells from a nearby sewage treatment plant wafting over Riverfield Drive.

Long-suffering residents of the Bedford estate have welcomed the order after complaining about the smells from, what Anglian Water call, a Water Recycling Centre for many years.

The abatement order, issued on 7 July, follows a year-long investigation between Bedford Borough Council and Anglian Water, which included meetings with residents.

While Anglian Water did complete works to reduce smells at the Meadow Lane plant during this time, council officials found “no improvement witnessed”.

“The number of incoming complaints, coupled with the monitoring undertaken by officers, showed that the issue is still ongoing,” said Cllr Colleen Atkins, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, Regulatory Services and Housing.

Bedford Borough Council say they’re satisfied the sewage works are likely to continue to cause a nuisance to people living near by and must solves the issue by 31 January 2021.

“Failure to comply may result in prosecution with the possibility of an unlimited fine,” added Cllr Atkins.

Anglian Water Sewage Treatment Works Bedford (Meadow Lane)
Anglian Water Sewage Treatment Works Bedford (Meadow Lane). Image: Google, Streetview (Sep 2012)

The council say the January deadline gives the company, “a reasonable period to complete abatement works as required to address the particular issue, while holding them to a timeline for compliance.”

Responding to the order, an Anglian Water spokesperson said: “To ensure that we continue to act as good and responsible neighbours within our region, we are exploring further ways to help reduce the odours from our Water Recycling Centre in Bedford.

“Hot weather, which we’ve seen this year, can increase the likelihood of odours from wastewater.

“The nature of the work we do means that odours sometimes occur and we work hard to minimise any instances wherever we possibly can.

“We already have odour control systems and suppressants on site which are monitored regularly, and we’ll also be exploring additional measures we can put in place across the wider sewer network to reduce any odour further.

Residents are encouraged to contact Anglian Water when the smell is noticeable by calling 03457 145 145 or emailing bedford@anglianwater.co.uk giving the location where they can smell the odour and the time and date.

They can also notify the council but investigations into breaches of the order won’t take place until the compliance period ends.

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