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Anglian Water denies ‘foul smell’ at Great Ouse River in King’s Lynn despite concerns from GroundWork Gallery artists

Anglian Water has insisted that “no unusual odours” have been reported by staff at a Lynn river despite an art group claiming to have noticed “foul smells”.

The water company told the Lynn News that its most recent samples taken from the Great Ouse River returned results which are well within its consent limits, which are set by the Environment Agency.

That came after artists at the Lynn-based GroundWork Gallery voiced concerns about the “stench” they noticed while one member was researching for an upcoming project. This was close to the water treatment plant at Clockcase Lane.

Artists at Lynn's GroundWork Gallery were concerned about a 'foul smell' at the Great River Ouse. Picture: GroundWork Gallery
Artists at Lynn's GroundWork Gallery were concerned about a 'foul smell' at the Great River Ouse. Picture: GroundWork Gallery

Photographer Kelly Hill was also walking her dog during that work, and she claimed that upon drinking water from the river it became unwell.

However, Anglian Water teams have subsequently investigated the site – which runs alongside the Peter Scott Walk – and found no unpermitted discharges into the water.

A spokesperson said: “Our teams have investigated the area and found no unpermitted discharges into the watercourse along the Peter Scott Heritage Walk in Lynn.

“Results of water samples taken from the river at the time concerns were raised are all well within our consent limits set by the Environment Agency to help protect the environment - the site has remained within these consented limits all year.

“The site has also recently been inspected by the Environment Agency who reported no concerns.

“Our water recycling centres receive tens of thousands of litres of sewage everyday so keeping odours to a minimum is also something we take seriously. We use special equipment and chemicals to stop unpleasant smells escaping into the air as much as possible.

“The nature of site, and the job it’s there to do means there will inevitably be some smells from time to time, but we want to be the best neighbours we can so if customers do notice a spike in odours, they can contact us via Facebook or through our customer services number: 03457 145 145.”

Artist Ms Hill had been researching her subject, ‘The Ground Beneath Our Feet’, for the GroundWork Gallery’s next exhibition, due to open tomorrow, when she reported her concerns.

She described a “foul smell” – and said that when her dog jumped into the water for a swim, it became unwell after drinking some of it.

Ms Hill said: “It is ironic that the Peter Scott Walk – dedicated to this ornithologist and conservationist for his contribution to saving some of the world's rarest birds from extinction – should be tainted in this way.”

Veronica Sekules, director at the gallery, added: “Anglian Water claims to be investing in improving the Water Treatment Plant, so why does it continue to cause such a problem?”

The Environment Agency sets consent limits for what Anglian Water assets can discharge so as not to cause harm to the environment.

The water company added that it does not receive odour complaints about this site in general – and has not had any reported in the last year.

It has several Odour Control Units on site to treat any odorous processes which take place in a contained area, and was recently inspected by the Environment Agency – which reported back with no concerns and no actions.

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