Mystery smell in Horsham due to treated sewage sludge spread on farmland

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The source of a mystery smell in Horsham over the past week is due to treated sewage sludge spread on farmland in the area - the Environment Agency confirmed today (Tuesday September 9).

The agency said they had contacted Thames Water who were responsible for the works and asked them to take all available odour suppression measures.

The smells have prompted week-long speculation about their source on social media.

A spokesperson for Thames Water said: “We’re sorry to residents for the smell and we’re working to minimise the odour as best we can.”

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency added: “We are aware of the odour issues and we have received 15 complaints from the local community over the past two days. We have contacted Thames Water who are responsible for arranging the spread of treated sewage sludge on farmland in the Horsham area.

“We have advised the water company to take all available odour suppression measures and have been assured by them that the activity will be completed this afternoon (Tuesday, 9 Sept). They also notified us that further spreading would be taking place on another farm in the vicinity tomorrow (Wednesday, 10 Sept).

“Members of the public can report further odour issues to us on our 24 hour emergency hotline on 0800 807060 or to Horsham District Council’s Environmental Health Team.”

A spokesperson for Horsham District Council said: “Horsham District Council have received several complaints regarding odours in the north Horsham area. Our investigations lead us to believe that the likely source is from the spreading of sewage sludge on farm land adjacent to the Langhurstwood Road.

“Climatic conditions have led to the smell remaining at ground level rather than dissipating which may account for the elevated levels of complaint and the extent of the smell over a wider area than would normally occur.

“The spreading of sludge is normal agricultural practice and is controlled via the Sewage Sludge Directive which is enforced by the Environment Agency.”