Kicking up a stink over Cumbernauld Biogas plant

WORKERS in the Wardpark area may have been troubled by a foul stench in the air of late.

This has been traced to a biogas facility in the area which has had problems with its filtration equipment causing the odour.

One local businessman, Mark Breingan, said: “My company recently moved into new offices at Dunnswood Road only to be greeted by a very strong, acrid vinegar-like smell.”

They reported this to environmental health officers and the stench was traced to a nearby facility operated by Energen Biogas Limited which has had problems with its filtration. Their operations director, Robert Etherson, said this was due to a underground water pipe which had burst, and stressed there was no risk to public safety.

“The problem was caused by a water shortage in our biofilter which went undected for some time as the pipe was underground. A biofilter is a living thing, specficially peat, and this has resulted in the smell. But there is absolutely nothing on or near the site which presents a pollution hazard. We try to be good neighbours and have apologised for the odour which we are taking action to fix. The smell should be gone in a matter of weeks.”

However, Mr Breingan claims his son was diagnosed with bacterial pleurisy ten days after visiting his offices and a number of co-workers have also felt unwell.

A spokeswoman for SEPA, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency said: “SEPA has worked with the operator to identify the source of the odour, and has required the operator to take steps to resolve the underlying cause.

“The bio-filter, which treats odours, had not been receiving a sufficient amount of water to perform adequately. Sufficient water is now being supplied to the bio-filter, however, it is likely to need a period of time to recover. This is because microbes within the filter must regenerate to sufficient levels for the bio-filter to function correctly; this may take up to a week to recover.”

SEPA are also running routine tests to confirm whether any harmful bacteria could have been released, their results are expected soon.

If you have been experiencing problems you think may be linked to this incident, contact SEPA’s local team on 01786 45 25 95.