‘Disgusting’ stench continues to blight Ottery St Mary households


- Credit: Archant

South West Water admits recent hot weather exacerbated problem

A ‘disgusting’ stench from Ottery’s sewage works continues to blight households – almost three years after South West Water (SWW) pledged £100,000 to address the problem.

Councillor Roger Giles said he had been inundated with complaints from residents of Oak Close, Millcroft and Riverside View about the ‘awful’ odour that they say is forcing them to stay indoors and re-wash clothes left hanging outside.

The sewage works is due to be decommissioned, but at a town council meeting on Monday, Cllr Giles argued that even a few months of having to ‘endure the appalling smell’ was ‘unacceptable’.

SWW says it is doing its best to prevent ‘inevitable’ odours from the sewage works, but admitted the recent spell of hot, dry weather had exacerbated the problem.

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Cllr Giles said: “This is an ongoing situation. We have, in the past, discussed complaints from people who live near the sewage works of the terrible smell.”

He read out a few of the complaints he had received recently.

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One Oak Close resident said: “My daughter and her children came to stay for a week at the beginning of August and, for several days, the sewage smell was awful and so bad we could not go outside.”

Another said: “We were all nearly sick – it was disgusting.”

Town councillors agreed to invite representatives of the water company to a meeting to address the problem and called for a lid to be put on the storm water tank that will remain at the site.

SWW has previously apologised to residents and, in November 2013, pledged £100,000 to alleviate the stench. The company told the Herald in April 2015 that work was being carried out.

Long-term plans are under way to divert all flows from Ottery to Fluxton sewage works for treatment which, when complete, will leave the town site for flow control and storm water storage only.

A SWW spokeswoman said when this was complete, it would minimise the likelihood of future odours. She added that the company was willing to attend future council meetings to keep people updated with progress.

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