Thames Water Must Move Faster To Cover Six Open Mogden Storm Tanks

Brentford councillor Andrew Dakers, calls for action, supported by Vince Cable

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Andrew Dakers says “Mogden Sewage Works in Isleworth has for too long blighted the lives of many in our local community.  In July 2001, after numerous complaints from local residents, the Council took the first steps to tackle this problem and served an odour abatement notice on Thames Water.  However it was only seven years later, and after a long legal challenge, that Thames Water finally agreed to comply.  Despite recent improvements to the plant facilities (e.g. covering many tanks), unpredictable weather patterns and six storm tanks that remain uncovered mean that local residents still regularly suffer from the odour.  This is why I am now calling for further action by Thames Water to address the impact of Mogden odour on local residents’ lives.”

Expansion of the plant

“As I recorded in my support for the motion on Thursday 5 March at Isleworth and Brentford Area Committee – whilst I voted in favour of the final decision on Mogden sewage works expansion at Sustainable Development Committee on Wednesday 4 March (after initially abstaining) – this was done with a heavy heart and considerable regret at the limited powers of local planning authorities.  On the basis of the evidence before us and the planning framework, it appeared the planning authority had no other course of action.

“Unfortunately what was not made clear to the Sustainable Development Committee is the extent to which storm tanks are being used and that this may not be in line with good practice management of sewage works.  If this is the case it should have been a material consideration before the planning committee.  It would also throw into question the decision to sell off Perry Oaks sewage treatment works.

“Whilst there is of course a reality that sewage must be treated somewhere, Mogden’s location in the heart of an urban area and the fact that the odour problem with the existing plant not been fully resolved, makes its expansion at this time highly questionable.  This is why I am urging Thames Water to engage our community and its investors in a genuine and open dialogue about alternative options for future sewage infrastructure in West London.  This process should help clarify the potential benefits and practicalities of extending the reach of the Thames Tideway tunnel to Isleworth from Hammersmith.”

Reporting odour

“I welcome the initiative led by Cllr Jon Hardy to establish a 24hr telephone line and mobile odour recording facility in the past few weeks.

“If the Council is to take further action to halt the odour problem it is now vitally important that residents report instances of odour to the hotline: 020 8583 5555 during office hours (Monday – Friday 8.45am to 5pm) and 020 8583 2222 out of hours (5pm – 8.45am Weekdays / all weekend).

“Residents should also ensure that all complaints are emailed to MRAG ( for logging and investigation.

“Given the continued impact of Mogden odour on the local community, I support Cllr Hardy’s endeavour to serve an abatement notice on Thames Water.”

Time for Thames Water to cover the six open storm tanks

“It would be great to see Thames Water take the lead in ending the odour blighting residents lives and bring this costly debate to an end, rather than leaving residents suffering for what could be at least five years. 

“Only two of eight storm tanks are currently covered.  Waiting another four or five years until the current expansion programme is completed to discover whether use of the storm tanks has lessened and the odour abated is not good enough.  If your child can not concentrate on their homework because of the odour, as many residents have complained to me, then you have good reason for continued concern.

“Thames Water management should begin planning the investment immediately to cover the remaining storm tanks.  This should no longer be considered dependent on a contribution by OFWAT but good management of the plant.

“My suggestion is that Thames Water focus on covering an additional three storm tanks by the end of March 2010 and, if the odour has not reduced substantially during next summer, the final three by the end of next year.

“We must not lose sight of the fact that relative to expanding the sewage works, covering the storm tanks should neither be considered prohibitively expensive nor a particularly lengthy build.”

 Isleworth and Brentford Area Committee motion – 5 March 2009:

"This Area Committee regrets the decision of the Sustainable Development Committee to approve the application by Thames Water to expand its operation in such a way that is likely to have a detrimental effect on the quality of life of local residents".

"This Committee now calls upon officers of the Council to do everything in their power to ensure that any inconvenience or misery caused to residents is kept to an absolute minimum, that all conditions agreed and attached to the application are fully adhered to without exception, and that in the event of them not being adhered to all necessary avenues of enforcement will be pursued".

Six in favour – Councillors Dakers (Liberal Democrat), Shirley Fisher (Independent Community Group), Paul Fisher (Independent Community Group), Hardy (Independent Community Group), Caroline Andrews  (Independent Community Group) and Phil Andrews  (Independent Community Group).

Three against – Councillors Cadbury (Labour), O’Reilly (Conservative) and Reid (Conservative).

For recent reports see: Thames Water's website and H2S readings for August (pdf)

Call for More Action on Mogden ‘Pong’ - Cable

Vince Cable MP has supported the initiative of a group of Hounslow councillors-Lib Dem and Independent-pressing for a tighter programme to cover the storm tanks at Mogden Sewage Works. In recent weeks there have been growing complaints about the smell in Twickenham, St Margarets and Whitton as well as Isleworth-which is most affected-in the wake of large autumn rainfall.

Vince Cable said:

“Following the campaign in which I and others were involved several years ago Thames Water covered two of the storm tanks and the main areas of the works which generate odour with a £50 million investment programme.

This has undoubtedly improved matters but there are still problems with the uncovered tanks when there are unpredictable weather patterns. These problems could get worse when the plant expands in the next few years unless there is a tighter timetable for covering the storm tanks.”

September 18, 2009

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