A local community group has called for an Environment Agency investigation into expansion plans at the Anglian Water Treatment Plant in Seaton Road, Uppingham after the water authority advised Rutland County Council and a local housing trust that previous communications advising that air pollution from the plant was not an issue were now thought to be incorrect and that current improvement works were likely to make the situation worse for the town.
Following a letter to Environment Agency Chief Executive, Sir James Bevan, an enquiry is under way. The Uppingham letter advises Sir James as follows:-
Dear Sir James.
We find it necessary to write to the agency owing to an astonishing admission by Anglian Water (AW) that it has for many years been unable to control the odour emissions from its Water Treatment Plant in Seaton Road, Uppingham, Rutland and will continue to do so despite a recent announcement of more capital expenditure on the site.
Having taken expert advice, the community is advised that the main issue appears to be a design fault in the layout of the plant that means the incoming waste pipe terminates in the open air immediately inside the plant boundary and is uncovered, as are its settlement tanks. Despite site meetings to identify the cause, accepted by the AW site manager, AW has chosen to put a blight on the area and not seal the offending pipework.
Elsewhere in the UK water authorities have been required to physically cap similar open developments such that no odour is emitted. This of course requires capital expenditure to execute.
Some years ago, a former owner of a site adjacent to the plant requested that the relevant local authority (Rutland County Council) serve an Abatement Nuisance Order on AW which allegedly responded by stating that no odour existed to be addressed. Following an enquiry from the community, AW is indicating it can now measure odour more precisely and that an unpleasant and potentially unlawful odour will indeed blight the neighbourhood for the foreseeable future. Clearly this is not acceptable to community representatives, hence the approach to the Environment Agency for help in ensuring such a potential danger to the area is prevented.
The letter requests the help of the Environment Agency to address this social injustice. It states that clean air and a healthy surrounding environment should be a priority for every water authority. AW appears to be saying that the neighbourhood faces an increased risk from its operations. This is not acceptable to the Uppingham community.