Southwold ‘pong’ due to areas of septic sewage, say water investigators

Southwold Promenade.PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Southwold Promenade.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

The bad odour that has been hanging over homes in Southwold for months is a product of septic sewage, Anglian Water has confirmed.

The pungent smell, which was previously blamed on blocked pipes in the town's huge number of second homes, has been traced to certain points in the surrounding sewage network following investigations by the provider.

The problem areas are now being treated with extra chemical dosing to stem the odour.

Harriet Coulter, who lives in Field Stile Road, said she wasn't convinced by the diagnosis.

'This has being going on for years,' Ms Coulter added.

'It has been a different theory every time. It just isn't good enough. The sewage system cannot cope with the influx of new homes.

'They're building 20 at the end of my garden.'

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Ms Coulter added that she would never hang her washing outside due to the smell, and her next door neighbour would refuse to let her grandchildren out for fear the area was unhygienic.

She said: 'Sometimes you even have to put a scarf over your mouth. We are considering moving. It's absolutely terrible.'

An Anglian Water spokesman said: 'We've made positive progress with our investigations to find the source of odours.

'Although our investigations didn't find any issues with the Water Recycling site itself, we did locate certain points in the surrounding sewer network where sewage was becoming septic and causing additional odours.

'These areas are now being treated with extra chemical dosing to reduce bad smells, and will be monitored closely. We've also changed our tankering operations to rule these out as a source of odour. We've changed the time of day when we take sewage sludge away from the site, and we're using different tankers too.'

They added that Southwold residents are invited to a drop-in session to air concerns and seek answers. The spokesman said: 'We'll be holding a drop-in session for the local community between 4pm and 7pm on February 19 in The Reading Room at The Swan, where we'll be updating residents with our findings so far and the measures we've put in place.

'We hope they will be able to join us so our team can provide the very latest information at that point and address any questions they have.'