AN EXTRA £3.5m is being spent in the hope of making nasty niffs from a sewage treatment plant a thing of the past.
Southern Water is investing the cash to improve its Peel Common Wastewater Treatment Works off Newgate Lane, Fareham.
People living near the site in parts of Fareham and Gosport have endured decades of foul smells from what has been dubbed the Peel Common pong.
But work has now begun on installing new covered systems to replace the existing ones at the works to provide a sealed environment – reducing the risk of odours.
And soon, work will also begin on installing new screens to filter out more non-biodegradable debris like sanitary products and cleaning wipes.
These items, which have been flushed down the toilet rather than put in the bin, cause problems if they enter the treatment process as they can block pipes and pumps.
Stubbington ward councillor Jim Forrest said: ‘Obviously I welcome this – when I first became a councillor here, the so-called Peel Common pong was a major source of work for us.
‘I must say that over the past 10 years or so, Southern Water has put a lot of money into improving the treatment plant. The frequency of occurrences has gone down considerably, but it is still there. We have had a hotline for people to call when it’s happened, and the number of calls has nose-dived, no pun intended, in recent years.’
The work is the latest in a series of investments by Southern Water to improve the site’s performance, including the ongoing installation of an ultra-violet treatment plant that will bring the quality of the treated wastewater to a higher standard before it is released back into the Solent.
In 2008, a £29m nitrogen removal scheme to improve the quality of the treated wastewater returned to the environment was completed.
Peel Common, which sits on a 37-acre site between Fareham and Gosport, treats about 800 litres of wastewater every second from almost 250,000 people in the surrounding area.
Project manager James Rance said: ‘This important scheme is the latest investment by Southern Water to improve the processes and efficiency of Peel Common and will help reduce the risk of odours from the site.’
The work is being carried out by Southern Water supplier Barhale Trant Utilities and is expected to take a year.