Neighbours asked to keep ‘smell diary’ as water firm investigates Sunderland sewage stench

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PONG-PLAGUED Wearsiders are being asked to keep “odour diaries” so water board chiefs can identify stench problems.

The Echo reported that people living either side of the River Wear were suffering from ghastly smells coming from Northumbrian Water’s sewage works at the Port of Sunderland in Hendon.

The company admitted that broken gates were the source of the issue.

A malfunction meant that a rotten egg smell was emanating from the site, which processes between 90 and 100 tonnes of sludge a day for transportation to Teesside and Newcastle.

Yesterday, the organisation apologised to members of the public at a meeting at Chance community centre in Rickaby Street, which was also attended by representatives from the Environment Agency and Sunderland Council.

However, East End residents said the problem has been going on for a number of years and continues to affect them each week. There were more than 20 calls of complaint last month about the smells.

Community stalwart Shirley Williams, who chaired the meeting, said: “The smell seems to have got worse in the last couple of years.

“At times you can’t open your windows or your car windows. People are sick of it.”

People are now being asked to keep diaries, recording what time of day and where they smell the odours in their area.

Alec Llewellyn, sludge manager at Northumbrian Water, said: “The more information that I get, the more I can to find out where the problems are.”

Marc Condra, of the Environment Agency, said: “There was no way that Northumbrian Water could have predicted what has happened.

“We are now looking at what problems there are, working with them to rectify those issues.”

Northumbrian Water is expected to report back to residents at a future meeting.

Residents who notice bad smells should call the Environment Agency 24-hour incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.