Cyber-attack & data theft: Our response & service status

SMW Ltd Daldowie

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Service status

 A sophisticated criminal cyber-attack has had a major impact on the way SEPA works. We are working through all the services that we provide to understand what we need to do in the short and longer term to restore services. We are approaching this work with a sense of urgency.

SMW Ltd Daldowie

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) acknowledges the impact odour can have on communities. We take complaints of odour from Drax SMW Limited’s sludge treatment plant at Daldowie seriously and are actively working with the operator to address the issues and secure compliance.

We have developed this page to share details of SEPA’s ongoing regulatory activities and progress at the site with local residents.

Complaints

SEPA has received a number of complaints since 1 January 2021 regarding odour from Drax, SMW Ltd: 14 in January, 14 in February, 38 in March, 61 in April, 52 in May and 16 up to 03 June. 

SEPA has proactively and reactively deployed staff to investigate odour in the area on 11 occasions this year and on 5 of these occasions odour has been substantiated from the site. SEPA have undertaken a site inspection every time offensive odour has been substantiated.

On one occasion, the operator later reported a blockage within the plant, and on another SEPA highlighted issues with poor housekeeping.  The operator has now undertaken an investigation and improved housekeeping on the site. SEPA has now required the operator undertake a full review of all potential odour sources, ensuring that all measures are in place to prevent any further odour emissions.

Since January 2021, the operator has informed SEPA of plant failures, including the blockage and a repeated failure on the plant that has resulted in the plant shutting down. The operator has now contacted the manufacturer to resolve this issue. However, reported complaints do not all relate to these plant failures.  

During our investigations, odours have also been detected from Paterson’s of Greenoakhill landfill and the adjacent Scottish Water Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTW).  SEPA officers attended Newton Farm area out of hours on 29 April 2021 and substantiated a landfill gas odour from Paterson’s landfill, with the regulating officer followed up with the landfill the following day.  Where sewage odours are substantiated during our investigations, we are passing these complaints to Glasgow City Council, Environmental Health Department.  

If you are impacted by a sewage odour that you believe is from the Scottish Water WWTW plant, please contact Glasgow City Council public health department by using the online form:  Report a Public Health Problem - Glasgow City Council  or by calling 0141 287 1069. 

Permit requirements   

Emission monitoring on the 4 regenerative thermal oxidisers (RTOs) was completed in October 2020 as required by the permit.  SEPA assessed the emission reports and it was noted that one of the older RTOs failed one of the emission monitoring tests for hydrogen sulphide. However, the emission results for the new 50m RTO, which is the release point to atmosphere, did not fail.  

What happens next?

SEPA will continue to undertake reactive and proactive odour assessments in the Newton Farm area and will take the regulatory steps necessary to secure permit compliance.

Please continue to inform us when offensive odour is present by using our online reporting form at sepa.org.uk/report. As there are a number of potential odour sources in the area it is very helpful if you can be as descriptive as possible, as it can often help us in our investigations.

Examples of odours experienced previously include:

  • like a sewer
  • faecal matter
  • like a drain
  • landfill gas
  • rotten vegetables
  • rubbish
  • burnt sewage

Previous updates

SEPA update - 24 July 2021

A spokesperson for SEPA said: 

“Every day we work to protect and enhance Scotland’s environment and we take all reports of pollution seriously.

“Across the weekend, SEPA has received a number of odour complaints complaints from the Newton Farm community.  SEPA officers have attended the area and substantiated a sewage odour.

"As Glasgow City Council is responsible for the regulation of odour from waste water treatment works, SEPA has contacted the local authority to advise.

"If you are impacted by a sewage odour that you believe is from the Scottish Water WWTW plant, please contact Glasgow City Council public health department by using the online form:  Report a Public Health Problem - Glasgow City Council  or by calling 0141 287 1069."

SEPA update - 2 October 2020

2 October 2020

While SEPA has received fewer complaints about odours from DRAX SMW Limited in the last month, a total of 61 complaints were received in August and 19 in September 2020.

Compliance with the Enforcement Notice

DRAX SMW Limited has now completed the installation of the new Regenerative Thermal Oxidiser (RTO) and 50 metre stack as required by the SEPA Enforcement Notice served on the 9 March 2020. These are the long-term improvements to the site designed to reduce off-site odours.

Protocols on stack emission testing and maintenance procedures were required by the Variation Notice SEPA served. They have been submitted and assessed to be satisfactory by SEPA.

Emission monitoring work on the existing two RTOs is still ongoing, as work on site has been focussed on the installation of the new RTO. 

 What happens next?

The commissioning reports detailing the results of the monitoring are required by the Variation Notice to be submitted to SEPA by 31 October and 30 November. Compliance with the Enforcement Notice cannot be fully assessed until all required actions have been completed to SEPA’s satisfaction. 

SEPA will be undertaking proactive odour assessments in the Newton Farm area for the following month to assess how well the newly installed abatement is working.

Please continue to inform us if offensive odour is present by using our online reporting form at sepa.org.uk/report. As there are a number of potential odour sources in the area it is very helpful if you can be as descriptive as possible, as it can often help us in our investigations.

SEPA update - 21 August 2020

SEPA has received fewer complaints in recent weeks regarding odour from DRAX SMW Ltd’s sludge treatment plant at Daldowie. 

We are clear that the Operator is responsible for meeting environmental obligations under its permit and continue to alert the site to complaints, in real time.

SEPA remains in discussion with the Operator to ensure the long term odour abatement solution as required by the Enforcement Notice is delivered by September 2020, and the Operator has confirmed work is still on schedule. The new abatement equipment has started to arrive on site, with the delivery and installation of the new stack last week and the first section of the RTO arrived on Tuesday 18 August.

SEPA has issued a Variation Notice which contains the conditions by which the additional abatement can operate.

A number of complaints were received by SEPA on Wednesday 12 August. SEPA officers were deployed to the area and substantiated an odour.

SEPA continues to gather information that will inform our ongoing investigation and any further enforcement action we may take. Please continue to inform us when offensive odour is present.

SEPA update - 9 June 2020

SEPA has received a significant number of complaints from Newton Farm residents about odour from Drax SMW Ltd’s sludge treatment plant at Daldowie from 30 May to 7 June.

We are clear that the Operator is responsible for meeting environmental obligations under the permit and have alerted the site to each complaint.

SEPA has previously investigated potential sources of odour on the site.  Further to that investigation, the releases from the three stacks for the RTOs remain the main source of odour from the site and the source of complaints. Therefore, SEPA is continually in discussions with the Operator to ensure the long term solution as required by the Enforcement Notice compliance is delivered by September 2020.

Since 24 April 2020 we have deployed to the area on five separate occasions. Offensive odour was substantiated on three of these visits.  SEPA is aware of the significant loss of amenity that the community is experiencing at this time. The information we are gathering will inform our ongoing investigation and any further enforcement action we may take.

In the meantime they are continuing to employ interim odour abatement measures. On Sunday 31 May the site began using odour neutraliser at the top of the stack. Since April action has been taken at waste water treatment works within the Clyde network to reduce the volume of sludge being supplied to the site.  Given recent complaints, SEPA is having ongoing discussions about the effectiveness of these measures and what, if anything, further can be trialled.

Please continue to inform SEPA when offensive odour is present and we will use this information to inform our investigations. Like many organisations our contact centre is currently working to reduced capacity and so please report online via www.sepa.org.uk/report where you can.

For those who can’t report online, our contact centre colleagues are there to help, and will support you in taking pollution complaints.  Likewise we’ll support them by ensuring they have a safe working environment.

SEPA update - 27 May 2020

A spokesperson for SEPA said:  “Every day we work to protect and enhance Scotland’s environment and we take all reports of pollution seriously.

“In the recent spell of easterly and north easterly winds, we have received a number of odour complaints from the Newton Farm community. The majority of these have described a burning odour, linked to emissions from the regenerative thermal oxidisers at Drax SMW Ltd’s sludge treatment plant. While we are satisfied that long-term abatement solutions are underway to prevent these ongoing odour issues, each complaint is being reported to the site to investigate so we can ensure any other potential odorous activity is identified and mitigated as soon as possible.

“We have also deployed field staff to assess the severity of the impact in the local area, while adhering to Scottish Government COVID-19 guidance, and encourage the community to continue to report offensive odour at www.sepa.org.uk/report.”

Ongoing work to reduce odours

The Daldowie Odour Liaison Meeting between SEPA, Drax, Scottish Water and Glasgow City Council was last held on 1 June 2021. These meetings are designed to enable good communication between all relevant partners who share a remit and responsibility and are held regularly.  The next meeting will be held in early July.

SEPA has published its SEPA COVID-19 Philosophy and overarching guidance on regulation during COVID-19.

SEPA will continue to:

  • Engage with the operator on a regular basis to ensure that investigation into odour complaints is undertaken and that appropriate corrective action is taken.
  • Undertake both reactive and proactive odour assessments of the Newton Farm area.
  • Carry out regular inspections of the site.
  • Follow up complaints received with the site. However, we will be unable to provide a personal response to each complainant, as we would normally have done when complainants request to speak directly to a SEPA officer.
  • Encourage regular engagement between the operator and the surrounding community.

While we continue to receive complaints regarding an odour in the Newton Farm area and we proactively and reactively attend we will consider all enforcement options.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I report a pollution incident?

SEPA's 24 hour pollution hotline is always available via our online reporting form.

Contact SEPA as soon as you become aware of a potential pollution incident so we can begin investigations early. Provide as much information as you can, including the location and any relevant details.

If the complaint is related to an odour it is very helpful for you to be as descriptive as possible, so that we can try and ascertain where it may be coming from. This includes details such as the time you detected the odour, where you were and what it smelled like.

  • Can SEPA provide feedback on investigations into reported pollution incidents?

We will provide updates via this page when new information becomes available and will update you when interim measures to reduce the odour impact have been implemented.  

However, we must be careful not to provide unsubstantiated details or prejudice any enforcement action we may take.