A £1 MILLION project to banish a sewage-related pong from an area of Chester has been delayed.
Water company Welsh Water announced plans to tackle the 'Sealand Stink' and make improvements to Chester Wastewater Treatment Works at the start of June.
But this week the Leader learnt that work has still not yet begun – and is now not expected to be completed until November at the earliest.
Bosses at Welsh Water say the delay is down to “last-minute refinement” of the plans and equipment is now on-site and ready to go.
The scheme was originally expected to be completed by October.
A company spokesman said: "While we have moved the necessary equipment to the site to do the work, there has been a delay to us starting. This has been due to us having to refine the design of the scheme slightly at the last minute.
"We now expect to begin work within the next two weeks. We will do everything possible to minimise the effect of the delay on the planned completion date and aim to have the bulk of the work completed by the middle of November. We do not anticipate that the work will cause any disruption to our customers or increase odour from the works.
"We apologise for this delay and would like to take the opportunity to thank customers for bearing with us during this period and for their patience and support."
News of the set-back has been met with dismay by nearby residents, who have had to live with the stench for years.
Nigel Pugh, 55, of Haydock Close, said yesterday: “We've been here seven years and it's always been an issue. You come past the chippy on Sealand Road and it hits you; it's like a really meaty smell. It's not nice.
“We have to keep the windows shut a lot of the time, especially at night. The sooner they get it sorted out the better.”
And Suzanne Todoran, 29, of Sedgefield Road, added: “I've only been living here a month now but it's very noticeable. I wasn't sure where it was coming from! It's very annoying. I hope it's fixed soon.”
Blacon Councillor Reggie Jones was more sympathetic to Welsh Water and said it would not be long until residents could breathe easy.
He said: “Very often with capital schemes there is a need to make sure the detailed design solutions are right and this can cause delays and frustration. However I am confident the planned investment by Welsh Water will build more resilience into the production process, improve capacity and improve air quality in the Sealand area.”
Besides the scheme to tackle the smell, Welsh Water also hopes to start a second, associated project to increase the capacity of the sewage works, to help the facility cope with the rising number of homes in the area. The plans will be subject to approval from regulator Ofwat.