A WYKE Regis councillor has called on Wessex Water to investigate and take action after an increase in residents’ complaints about the “Wyke Whiff.”

Cllr Kate Wheller says despite the company claim that all is well at their local treatment plant – a rise in people reporting problems suggests otherwise.

“There is a significant problem for Wyke residents and it does impact significantly upon them enjoying their gardens as they try to spend time with their families and friends during the summer.

"This is one more example of water companies, Wessex Water in this instance, showing scant regard for their customers and for the environment.

"I call upon them to investigate the source of the current problem and instigate corrective works as a priority,” said Cllr Wheller.

She has said that, in the past, residents have been encourage to report to Wessex Water knowing that sometimes smells do occur, but are often short-lived.

“Problems with smells from the sewage plant occur from time to time. Sometimes they are slight and relatively short lived and sometimes, as now, they are quite severe and prolonged… “Sometime ago Wessex Water undertook a significant upgrade in their plant and their work practices to combat the problem, which seemed quite successful.  In recent times they seem less keen to acknowledge any problem.”

In response to the water company statement that the treatment plant does comply with all the relevant rules and regulations, a leaflet campaign has now started in Wyke Regis to persuade the water company to do something to stop the smells. It advises people how to complain if they have been affected.

Said Wessex Water spokesman Peter Orchard: “The site is operating normally and complies with all permits, along with an odour management plan which is being followed.”

Mr Orchard has also denied a residents’ claim of pollution from the plant following a fire in July:  “Unfortunately our Weymouth water recycling centre suffered a third-party power outage which meant we had to use standby generators to maintain customers’ sewerage services.

“The site operated as normal throughout with no impact on the environment. Mains supply has now been restored and the generators have been removed.”

Said one resident: “We were asked by Wessex Water to keep a “smells diary” coming from the Langton Avenue treatment centre – but there seems little point, as we get the smells every day… which I have told the company, but they seem reluctant to do anything about it.”

The leaflet now being distributed lists a series of places to complain to include the environmental health team at Dorset Council, Wessex Water and South Dorset MP, Richard Drax.

It asks several questions including - has the smell from the water treatment plant become worse? Have you had to close windows and doors or been forced not to sit out in the garden because of the smell, or felt forced not to hang out washing, or felt unable to invite friends or family around because of the smell?

Said the leaflet: “ If the answer to any of these questions is yes I would urge you to make a complaint or this will become the new normal.”