by adamboyden on 11 February, 2022
We have been contacted by a few local residents in the areas near Frome sewage works who have had problems with large numbers of black midges and flies getting in their homes, causing a nuisance and disrupting everyday life. A previous article about this is several years old (see here) and it was in the press last year but the problem has not gone away.
Wessex Water acknowledge that large numbers of flies can originate from the open trickle (percolating) filter beds at their Frome sewage treatment works at Welshmill. Their Frome Water Recycling Centre Fly Management Plan (May 2021, v8, available on request from firstname.lastname@example.org) sets out their analysis of the problem, and their ‘good housekeeping’, and ‘best practice’ mitigation measures that are to be employed at the site: dosing with chemical larvicide, insectocutors, biological control, and insecticide spraying. It also recommends ways to reduce fly levels at customers’ properties, including closing windows and doors and fitting fly screens.
Mendip District Council’s Environmental Health team can serve an Abatement Notice when a nuisance is being caused, to legally compel a company to take action to avoid nuisance, but have not yet done so in this case yet because they appear satisfied the company is already using best practices. But private action to abate a nuisance may also be taken by residents through the Magistrates Courts under section 82(1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (see here).
Some residents and local Town and District councillors have met Wessex Water several times in recent years, including in 2021 and earlier this year, to ask them to tackle the problem more effectively, and as a result of these and a resident’s research, the company has agreed to put nets over most of the filter beds, which will hopefully reduce the problem. But if flies continue to be a nuisance, further actions will be needed. As the Fly Management Plan states, no best practice technique will completely remove all the larvae and flies from the trickling filter beds, so a major upgrade to the works might be all that could remove the problem.
We have discussed this issue with MDC’s Environmental Health team and have agreed to meet with Wessex Water. We understand that large numbers of flies have continued to appear recently.
To understand who is being affected, how bad the problem is, and to help work out what needs to be done, we urgently need to hear from you.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Please complete the Frome Fly Survey today:
So we can all understand who is affected by flies and how badly, please take the online survey at smartsurvey.co.uk/s/KFMPT8/
2. Register your complaint:
Whenever flies are a nuisance, please register your complaint immediately:
3. Keep a nuisance diary:
4. Please get in touch:
Email us: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Adam Boyden, Janine Nash, Damon Hooton and Richard Pinnock
Mendip District Councillors for Frome College, Berkley Down and Park wards4 Comments