Local Residents 'Sick Of Breathing Sewage' 

Miserable summer due to foul smell from Acton Storm tanks

Related Links

The pumping station

e-Petition Against Sewage Smell

Super Sewer Gets the Go Ahead

ActonW3.com, ChiswickW4.com and EalingToday.co.uk

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Hundreds of residents, business people and schoolchildren have endured a miserable summer due to the smell coming from the Acton Storm tanks, Thames Water was told last night (October 1st)

Angry locals said that windows had to be closed in hot weather in homes and in schools, social events such as BBQs were cancelled and people had complained of headaches from the odour. They estimate over 1,000 homes have been affected, a primary school, and two pre-schools.

Over eighty people and local councillors attended a public meeting with Thames Water in Rugby Road last night to discuss the problem which has been going on since June.

The site is a sewage pumping station with storm water storage tanks that fill when there are excess sewage flows in the Thames Water network.

They had been told earlier by the water company that it was a short term issue affecting tanks near Canham Road due to problems with the emptying of sewage. Locals claimed they had been told it would improve when the tanks were cleaned but the smell was still foul.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Andrew Steed, who organised the meeting, along with the local residents association said:“ The bad news is that Thames Water are no nearer solving the problem and are working on short term solutions.

He added: “It is incredible that a company of the size of Thames Water have not got a long term answer yet. Equally frustrating for many residents is the poor level of service they have received from the company. It is all very well Thames Water saying they must do better - we need to hold them to the commitments they made.”

Cllr Andrew Steed

A letter from the headteacher at Southfield Primary School, to Thames Water said that teachers had to keep children in from the playground when the odour was bad. The school, which has over 500 children from Chiswick, Acton, and Shepherds Bush, said it was having an impact on the childrens' learning.

"The strong smell of raw sewage has been at its worst during the summer term. Coupled with the hot weather we had last term it has affected lessons inside school and in the playground.
We aim to get the children into the playground during physical education lessons but the experience has not been good due to the noxious smell. On occasions the teaching staff have had to decide to reduce the time spent outside. This is far from ideal when we want children to be active and fit learners benefitting fully from their timetabled curriculum," said the letter from headteacher Simon Prebble.

"When windows are closed during hot weather children find it more difficult to concentrate; we don’t have air conditioning in the school."

Local MP Angie Bray has written to Thames Water about the smell.

A spokesperson for the local resident's association said that resident's associations, businesses and MPs were demanding an end to the sewage smells and pollution. The Acton Storm Tanks pumping station, or sewage plant, had been producing foul odour pretty much non-stop since June. 

"Residents and schools in the nearby roads in Chiswick, plus the Factory Quarter (in W3) and Emlyn Gardens (in W12) have been closing windows and having to cancel summer BBQs as the smell continued through out the hot weather.  The growth in the population of flies around the plant has now reached into houses and a number of residents have complained of headaches caused by the odour.

"Over the Summer Thames Water has attempted a number of "interim measures" as they search for a permanent solution so SPTRA is now demanding an end to the health hazard created by the particles being inhaled from the air and the odour from the sewage." 

Over 200 signatures have been received by an e-petition set up on Ealing Council's website-  “Sewage odour Acton Storm tanks.” 

Thames Water said that in June, an increase in the levels of smell was noticed so they cleaned the insides of the tanks. However after a storm in July, the smell returned. They looked into this and believe there could be a blockage at the bottom  of the site. This is slowing drainage, causing the smell.   

"It is impossible to remove all smell as the site is an important operational part of our sewage network. The aim is to get the level of smell back to normal, ensuring the storm tanks can begin again to drain away as they should."

Thames Water has identified Acton Storm Tanks as part of its proposed Thames Tideway Tunnel or 'Super Sewer' which has been recently given the go-ahead.

October 2, 2014