Foul smelling drains blamed for making people ill in Sheffield suburbs

(l-r) Green Party campaigner Rob Unwin and resident David Thomas discussing the drains problem with Natalie Bennett and Coun Alison Teal.
(l-r) Green Party campaigner Rob Unwin and resident David Thomas discussing the drains problem with Natalie Bennett and Coun Alison Teal.

A Sheffield councillor is kicking up a stink about smelly drains which are being blamed for making people ill.

Neighbours in Nether Edge and Sharrow say the stench of the drains is making their eyes, nose, chest and heads sore.

Now Green Party Councillor Alison Teal wants to hear from anyone else who lives near pongy drains and is feeling ill.

It follows complaints by Glen Road resident David Thomas who believes his chronic health problems are related to prolonged contact with gases coming from the local combined sewer and from the contamination of groundwater.

He says his symptoms disappear when he is away from the house for any length of time.

Prompted by Mr Thomas’ concerns, Coun Teal organised a house-to-house survey of other residents in the area.  She said: “I was shocked to discover how widespread the emissions problem was on Glen Road.

“Ten of the 13 families spoken to reported very bad smells from their back yard drains and two residents reported health problems in their children which they attribute to the problem.

“One elderly resident and her daughter both complained that the very bad smells come through the kitchen sink drain and bath drain into their house.”

Three out of four business owners nearby on Abbeydale Road, opposite Glen Road, also reported bad-smelling drains.

Mr Thomas says the survey builds on “considerable evidence” he has pulled together. “I contacted Yorkshire Water many times but their attempts to sort the problem have always treated it as an isolated incident affecting just me.

“They have never put two and two together and recognised that there’s a wider problem affecting the whole area.”

Yorkshire Water says it has carried out numerous surveys. A spokesman said: “Local sewer investigations and odour tests  do not reveal any abnormalities. However, we intend to install a trap on the drain feeding the customer’s property which will help trap any potential odours from entering the house and will help enhance air quality.”    

Coun Teal now wants to find out is a larger area is affected. She is asking anyone in Nether Edge or Sharrow, especially near Abbeydale Road, who have been affected by bad smelling drains, to contact her at Alison.Teal@sheffield.gov.uk or on 07500 765419.