Wa­ter firm IS im­port­ing sewage for treat­ment

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - News - By Ai­dan Bar­low

A wa­ter com­pany has ad­mit­ted that it “im­ports” sewage waste from out­side the county, fol­low­ing com­plaints about the stench.

Last week the Ken­tish Ex­press re­ported how res­i­dents are putting up with foul smells around the Ash­ford treat­ment works in Kin­ney’s Lane.

Cam­paign­ers such as Mar­cus Donker­s­ley sub­mit­ted a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act re­quest which re­vealed some 12,500 tonnes of sludge was brought in from out­side Kent in the first three months of this year.

He said the treat­ment works had been ex­panded by South­ern Wa­ter and ac­cused the com­pany of be­ing “in de­nial” about the stench.

De­spite ear­lier re­but­tals, the com­pany has now ad­mit­ted that sewage does come from fur­ther afield, but says the amount is “con­trolled”.

In a state­ment the com­pany said: “We bring a con­trolled amount of sludge from out­side the Kent area to the Ash­ford site, as this is our largest sludge treat­ment centre Kent.

“The process is care­fully man- aged to en­sure the site can cope with these im­ports.

“We would like to as­sure res­i­dents we are work­ing very hard to min­imise the im­pact of odours caused by our waste­water treat­ment works.

“Odour lev­els are strictly reg­u­lated by the En­vi­ron­ment Agency and we have been work­ing closely with them. Fol­low­ing con­cerns from lo­cal res­i­dents we have car­ried out an ex­ten­sive in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which has found there are no is­sues with our op­er­a­tions at the Ash­ford site.”

The com­pany met res­i­dents last month to dis­cuss con­cerns.

Writ­ing in this paper this week, Ash­ford MP Damian Green says that while im­port­ing sewage is a con­cern, the main issue should be us­ing tech­nol­ogy to pre­vent smells es­cap­ing.

The com­pany says it uses a sup­pres­sion sys­tem to mask smells and has just fin­ished in­stalling the sys­tem around the site.

It claims to be an “in­dus­try leader” in re­cy­cling 100% of the waste ma­te­ri­als on site for agri­cul­tural fer­tiliser and com­post, while waste is also used in the com­bined heat and power plant.

The com­pany added: “Unfortunately there will al­ways be some odours as­so­ci­ated with the waste­water treat­ment process, how­ever hard we try to min­imise the im­pact on nearby res­i­dents.”

Our Man in West­min­ster – page 18

Ash­ford waste treat­ment works in Kin­ney’s Lane

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