Enforcement action could be taken against an Ingoldmells sewage treatment plant to resolve the ‘horrendous’ odours, which have plagued the community for more than 20 years.
Lincolnshire County Council’s environmental scrutiny committee agreed to investigate whether Anglian Water had breached odour mitigation planning conditions and to prosecute the company if it failed to resolve the issue, which makes living in its midst ‘unbearable’.
Speaking at the Royal Arthur Centre, Ingoldmells, on Friday, committee chairman Coun Colin Davie said: “This situation has gone on for far too long and we must send a very strong message as representatives of the people of Lincolnshire that we cannot allow big utility companies to play the system.
“If Anglian Water doesn’t address this and deal with it properly we need to seek prosecution.
“They have a statutory responsibility to the community that pay their bills - people should not have to put up with it.”
The threat of legal action follows numerous meetings between the water company, residents and Ingoldmells Parish Council, which have failed to produce a satisfactory resolution.
Parish chairman Coun John Arnott-Watson said the smell, which he likened to the open sewers of Hong Kong, had been a problem ever since he moved to the village 24 years ago and criticised Anglian Water’s attempts to address it.
He said: “The smell, at its worst, is unbearable and drives you to screaming pitch - you are banging your head against a brick wall.”
Although Coun Arnott-Watson agreed the chemical dosing procedures, which began in March to mask the odours, had made some temporary improvements, he said the noxious odour had returned ‘worse than ever before’ between July and September.
Several councillors felt the facility did not have capacity to cope with a population which has grown significantly since the treatment plant was first created and would require more significant changes than the chemical dosing. They also claimed that frequent changes to Anglian Water’s staff dealing with the complaints made the task even more challenging, particularly when they failed to attend meetings, including the one held last week.