Representatives from the Environment Agency, Daventry District Council and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue met with concerned residents in Weedon Bec last night.
In a heated discussion residents questioned what the agencies intend to do following the pollution of a local pond with water used to extinguish a factory fire last month.
A blaze tore through Quality Nut Products Ltd on June 26 and burned for several days. The fire service attempted to block off drains to retain water running off the site but were unable to get to the ones closest to the fire. As a result water, containing nut oil, made its way into a nearby balancing pond backing onto a housing estate.
At last night’s meeting residents told the panel of representatives that a ‘pungent and vile smell’ was keeping them awake at night, preventing them from opening their windows and disrupting their lives. Flies were also said to be rife around the site causing a nuisance in people’s homes. Some residents even reported becoming ill and developing coughs due to the smell.
Norman Robinson from the Environmental Agency began by telling residents the water and oil sitting on the pond, which has destroyed the aquatic life, is a natural biodegradable product which will not cause harm to humans.
Had the pond smell not been a problem for residents Mr Robinson said the best option would be to leave the product to biodegrade naturally however they may now need to look at dilution or flushing the water through.
He said: “Options include aerating the pond to speed up the biodegradation process, however if the smell is that bad that’s probably not going to be option. We could consider pumping water into the sewer, we could pump to land, there are lots of things we can try and do but really that’s based on the sheer strength of the issue in the community but the learning point from tonight quite clearly was that it’s far stronger than we anticipated.
Mr Robinson said he would be speaking with loss adjuster and updating residents as to their progress every two days via email and the parish notice board.
Paul Knight from DDC was invited by local residents to experience the smell from the pond in their homes and the number of flies. He said should there be evidence of a nuisance then DDC would consider spraying insecticide on the factory to kill the flies.
For further details, reaction from residents and updates see next weeks Daventry Express.