Battle of 1066 won after resident kicks up a stink

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A VILLAGER is celebrating victory after a four-year battle with Anglian Water to tackle foul sewer smells near his house.

David Tolhurst, who lives on the B1066 Brockley Road in Whepstead, said he was ‘over the moon’ that the problem, which affected several homes had finally been resolved.

Mr Tolhurst said: “One of my neighbours said we had this for 30 years, we used to complain when it was run by the old Bury council and we were told something would be done but nothing ever was. They had given up and they were saying you’ll never get anywhere.”

Undeterred, the 72-year-old contacted watchdog Ofwat and then took on Anglian Water’s managing director Peter Simpson – and perseverence, eventually paid off.

“It all started when we moved to Whepstead five years ago,” Mr Tolhurst said. “It wasn’t long before we noticed both sides of the house had a foul sewage smell. One of my neighbours told me they actually had the fumes getting into part of their house.”

He said the smell was only evident at about 9am and again at around 4pm. He said Anglian Water had tried putting filters on the manhole covers and then bits of wood and bark down to take away the fumes, neither of which worked.

“I was not going to give up. I wrote to Mr Simpson saying this was like living in the 18th century,” said Mr Tolhurst.

Then, about a year ago,Anglian Water told him it was buying land from a local farmer and applying for planning permission to put in a detox system where the pumping station is.

That was completed in November and Mr Tolhurst said he had not noticed any sewage smells since.

An Anglian Water spokesman said the company had taken the complaint seriously and spent more than £200,000 and several years tackling the problem.

“The problem stemmed from the amount of time it took for sewage to pass through Whepstead in what was quite a small pipe,” he said.

“That pipe was upgraded in 2007 to speed up the flow and we also undertook a lengthy process to buy some farmland next to our pumping station and get planning permission to install equipment to dose the sewage with odour-killing chemicals.

“In the meantime, we tried different ways to control the smell, including the use of filters and hanging ‘baskets’ of odour-eating micro-organisms in the sewer. We are delighted that installation of the new equipment has now provided a solution for Mr Tolhurst and his neighbours.”