Bad eggs smell ‘at extremely low level’

February 26 2020

DETECTORS installed by the Environment Agency in Emersons Green and Lyde Green have found traces of hydrogen sulphide – the gas known for smelling of rotten eggs.
The agency’s Ambient Air Monitoring team installed remote monitoring equipment at both Emerson’s Green Village Hall and the Lyde Green Community Centre last year and is set to keep it in place until the end of March at least, to get results for a range of weather conditions.
In an update on its activities, the agency said both hydrogen sulphide and methane had been detected at “extremely low levels” - which were nevertheless strong enough for some people to smell.
The agency said: “Both these gases are known to be generated by landfill sites as well as other sources such as coal mining.
“The equipment is extremely sensitive and capable of detecting one part of gas in a billion parts of air.
“The levels detected are significantly lower (1,000 times lower) than the occupational exposure threshold for hydrogen sulphide as set by the Health and Safety Executive, but they are at a level where some people may be able to smell them.”
The agency has been investigating two landfill sites nearby as part of its operations in the area.
It said the amount of landfill gas extracted from the Shortwood Landfill site by Enovert Landfill since the summer of 2018 had increased by more than 8%.
The agency said: “The company has continued to raise the extraction wells, as the landfill site increases in height, in order to facilitate the collection of the gas generated by this fresh waste. “With our support, Enovert has carried out audits of the gas collection system to identify possible leaks and areas where improvements can be made to increase the amount of gas being collected.”
At the Lyde Green former landfill site near Honeysuckle Road, Vertase Ltd has been excavating since 2018 so the land can be redeveloped for housing.
The agency said excavation work at the site has now finished and the area has been backfilled with “inert materials”, such as rubble and soils.
The agency said: “Vertase Ltd will monitor the area over the next few months and collect evidence to show the land is safe to redevelop.
“We will continue to regulate Enovert, Vertase and the other sites to ensure they are compliant with their permit and working with best available techniques.
“Please keep telling us, using our incident hotline, when the odour is occurring, as this is really helpful in our investigation.
“It is unlikely that we will be able to eliminate all odour, especially if a combination of sources are causing an impact.
“We will continue to investigate reports of odour in the area.”
For more information about the work email wessexenquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk.
To report any environmental incidents call the free 24-hour hotline on 0800 807060.