Sugar site tries to sweeten spring clean smell

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SPRING cleaning often turns up unpleasant surprises and British Sugar’s seasonal clean is no exception.

Anyone passing the sugarbeet factory in Bury St Edmunds this week could not help noticing that instead of the usual earthy smell of beet processing, there was a less pleasant bad egg whiff.

A British Sugar spokeswoman said: “During the routine maintenance period at our Bury St Edmunds factory, we detected an odour from one of the water storage ponds.

“Since detection, we have been actively treating the pond water through our effluent treatment plant to remove the source of the odour from the identified pond and the water will be fully treated within the next week.”

The ponds, which gather water used in cleaning and processing the beet, can clearly be seen in this photograph by Ixworth microlight pilot Steve Wilson, who had noticed the smell as he drove past at ground level.

The size of the ponds can be judged by comparing them with the lorries on the road in the foreground.

The bad egg smell is caused by the gas hydrogen sulphide, which is often produced by the breakdown of organic matter in low oxygen. This can occur naturally in ponds and swamps. The gas is poisonous but its strong smell is noticeable long before it reaches dangerous levels.