Great Ponton pong lingers on after more than 40 years

The Ponton stink as reported in the Journal in 1969.
The Ponton stink as reported in the Journal in 1969.
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A foul smell which has infuriated villagers in Great Ponton for more than 40 years continues to linger.

People in the village have been constantly demanding answers to the stink but they say so far nothing has been done to resolve it.

Villagers outside Great Ponton Village Centre are fed up with the stink. Photo: 0112A

Villagers outside Great Ponton Village Centre are fed up with the stink. Photo: 0112A

Parish councillor Harry Watson, who has lived in the village for 13 years, said the main sewer through the village was to blame and that the pumping station at Stoke Rochford could not cope, causing a build-up of sewage in the pipes underneath the village which led to a build-up of gas. Often it stinks of rotten eggs which is the smell of hydrogen sulphide

Mr Watson, who lives in Cringleway, said: “It’s absolutely atrocious that we have to put up with that. Something drastically wants putting right. I think the water company are just playing hard to get because they don’t want to spend any money on it and they are making excuses.”

Mr Watson last called out an engineer from Anglian Water in June. The engineer inspected the sewer at the rear of his house and concluded that the sewer was clear and running. He left a note saying the pump station was “all ok” and he advised Mr Watson to have his private drains inspected.

Members of the village hall committee are also furious that nothing has been done to solve the problem because they say it could lose them money. Chairman Barbara Furber said that people hiring the hall for functions had come back to them to ask for a discount because the smell was so bad.

Mrs Furber said: “When it affects the hall, you open the doors and the stench hits you. It’s not very nice for anybody. It has to be unhygienic.”

Mr Watson said that for some reason the pump station kept breaking down. He said: “You would have thought that after 40 years something would have been done by now. It’s about time Anglian Water got their act together.”

In 1969 the Journal reported on the Ponton Pong and how it was blighting the lives of villagers then. Under the headline “The Smell that has become an uwanted way of life”, it reported on the angry residents who were demanding action.

This week, a spokesman for Anglian water said: “We apologise to people in Great Ponton who have recently experienced unpleasant smells from our pumping station at Stoke Rochford. Sewage has to travel a long way before it reaches the pumping station and on its journey through the pipes can become septic, which is what causes it to smell.

“We combat this with odour-killing chemicals that are automatically added to the sewage at the pumping station. Unfortunately, the recent very hot weather made the smells worse and the chemical dose being used was not enough to stop it. We have now increased the dose being used and this should solve the problem, though we will continue to monitor the situation closely. Once again, we apologise to anyone who had to put up with the smell.”

But County Councillor Bob Adams, who lives next to the pumping station in Great Ponton on Dallygate, demanded more drastic action.

He said: “The smells do not just occur when there is hot weather. They occur all year round. If the pumping station is inadequate then it should be upgraded or replaced. There are continuing problems with the sewerage in bad weather as people are aware due to the pumping station at Great Ponton which is inadequate to cope with the effluent. It is expected to deal with a large increase in properties that have been built in Great Ponton over the years. The system has become overloaded.”

Mr Adams said he would be contacting Anglian Water and Environmental Health about the situation.