Mystery surrounds the source of a ‘dreadful’ smell along a town centre street.
Traders in Horsham’s East Street have complained about an ‘unpleasant’ odour which has been wafting into shops and businesses since last year.
The smell is believed to be coming from the drainage system in the area.
A trader, who asked to remain anonymous, said they started noticing the problem back in October, 2015, but others had been complaining since the summer.
They said: “There has been a dreadful sewage smell in East Street.
“It’s disgusting, it’s a smell that customers are always commenting on.
“We have had to keep the doors shut as it was constantly wafting into the shop.
“I don’t know if it is because there are more restaurants down here that the drains can’t cope or whether it is flooded, I just don’t know.
“It is going to come to the springtime and people are not going to want to go to East Street to eat. It’s just unpleasant.”
The problem is being looked into by both Horsham District Council (HDC) and West Sussex County Council along with Southern Water.
HDC has confirmed an odour has been detected in the area but said it was not at a level to ‘constitute a nuisance’.
A spokesman said: “A number of visits have been made to this particular area since early 2015, both reactively in response to complaints, and as part of arranged joint visits with colleagues from West Sussex County Council.
“A faint odour has been intermittently detected but the odour has not been observed at a level which would constitute a Statutory Nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
“We have been working alongside West Sussex County Council and Southern Water and can confirm that there is no evidence to suggest that the East Street food businesses are not taking adequate and appropriate care in managing their waste water discharge.
“In addition, West Sussex County Council report that the surface water gullies are also clear, and therefore our joint investigations have been unable to identify the source of the odour affecting the street.
“Further investigations will be undertaken to determine potential causes of the odour.”
A spokesman for West Sussex County Council added: “We worked closely with Horsham District Council’s Environmental Department and were able to rule out the surface water system as the cause of the issue.
“As we understand it, investigations are being continued by other local agencies.”
Southern Water said it sent an engineer out on Tuesday February 9 to investigate the issue.
The water provider said: “After investigation, we discovered no blockages or related issues with the public sewerage system that could be the cause of a smell reported by local traders.
“However, we understand customers’ concerns and therefore will continue to work alongside the relevant local authorities to try to pinpoint the cause of the issue.”
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