Residents kick up a stink over 'pungent' smell in Northumberland coastal village

A smell which has blighted life in an idyllic Northumberland village may have been caused by the dry spring and lack of visitors.

Friday, 12th June 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 12th June 2020, 10:11 am

The odour has been hanging around Alnmouth in recent weeks, coinciding with the unseasonably fine weather and coronavirus lockdown.

Parish council chairman Shaun Whyte, explaining the issue to councillors at a Zoom meeting, said: "In the past two or three months the smell in the village has been quite pungent at times.

"During times of drought, which effectively is what we've had over the last two or three months - and perhaps with half the village not being here because the holiday and second homes have been closed – there has not been the natural flow of water to flush whatever out of the sewerage system and it hangs around.”

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Although the problem has dissipated after heavy rain, it is being investigated by Northumbrian Water and Northumberland County Council.

A Northumbrian Water spokesperson said: “We received a report of an odour potentially linked to our sewers in the Alnmouth area on June 2. Our technicians investigated and were unable to find the cause.

“As a precaution we are going to be carrying out a cleanse of the sewers in the area which should eliminate any issues that there might have been.

“If any residents notice any further unpleasant smells in the area we’d ask that they report them to us at the time, letting us know when and where they are first noticed so we can investigate.”

The sewerage system in Alnmouth is a combined sewer system. This means it takes both foul and surface water flows.

The road drains are designed to not vent any sewer gases into the atmosphere. They also contain silt and debris which can contribute to potential odours.

Hot and dry weather can sometimes cause odour issues and a good dose of rain can assist flows.

However, with some 400 manholes in the Alnmouth area, odours can be difficult to trace.

Residents and visitors are being asked to avoid parking close to drains for the next week to facilitate the cleaning process.

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