ROTTING MEAT from an Oakes factory is causing a stink among residents and business owners.
A putrid stench – described as smelling like raw sewage – is constantly creeping its way up drains in homes, pubs and shops close to New Hey Road.
A two-year investigation has placed Newsholme Food Group – a meat manufacturing business – at the centre of the problem.
A huge waste settlement tank inside the family-run factory is being blamed for the pong which has been picked up nearly half-a-mile away.
Now plans are under way by Yorkshire Water to place odour sensors in the drains to measure the problem.
The move comes after residents and traders first reported the problem in 2008.
Bay Horse pub landlord Stephen Pyke says the stench has cost him thousands of pounds in lost trade.
Now he fears the pub’s busy World Cup period could be under threat.
He said: “We keep getting passed from pillar to post between Yorkshire Water and Environmental Health.
“We used to have a reasonable tea-time trade but a lot of people have stopped coming in because it stinks.
“Our customers are literally retching from the smell. It used to be like rotting vegetables, but it is now like raw sewage.
“Being in a recession and the smoking ban was bad enough for trade, but then we have got this on top.
“It has just got to stop.”
Marsh Liberal Club steward Guy Brook shared his concerns.
He said: “It is the gases coming off the liquid in the drains.
“It got better for a few months but has started getting worse again. This week it was so bad, we had to close.”
A number of businesses and residents have even gone to the expense of having their drains checked.
Paul Moorhouse, who owns a house on New Hey Road, is among them.
He first noticed the smell six years ago. But he said it started to get worse in 2008 – which coincided with the factory’s expansion plans.
An agreement was made to put disinfectant into the tank and empty it more regularly.
Paul said: “The smell is overpowering. They are supposed to be putting disinfectant into it but it doesn’t seem to be getting rid of the problem.”
John Newsholme, managing director of Newsholme Food Group, said he was surprised to hear the measures were not working.
He explained how drains inside the factory – which contain meat waste – flow into a settlement tank.
The fluid and meat waste is then separated and the liquid is discharged into public drains, leaving the rotting waste at the bottom of the tank.
The residue is emptied every three weeks by a tanker which pumps it out, but it smells when it starts to ferment.
Disinfectant is also added to the tank during the interim period to prevent the odour.
Mr Newsholme added: “What we have been asked to do, we have done. We have had the people in who put the tank in to ask their advice and in summer we pump it out more often because it ferments quicker.
“We are a big employer in the area and I am aware we do not want local people to be upset.
“We are still looking into this. I thought we had sorted it out.”
Now, Yorkshire Water is to impose strict odour levels on the factory and plans to fit odour-logging devices at points in the public sewer network to measure the output.
A spokesman said: “We know that this is not immediately going to solve the residents’ issues, and we will continue to look at solutions to this problem in conjunction with the factory to ensure that the odours are minimised.”
In the meantime, campaigners are calling for others who have experienced the smell to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling Stephen Pyke on 01484 466921.