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What is causing a nasty smell on one of Suffolk beaches?

PUBLISHED: 10:54 29 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:13 30 August 2019

Stephen Read next to the black area on the beach that has been caused by a septic tank  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Stephen Read next to the black area on the beach that has been caused by a septic tank Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Visitors to Felixstowe Ferry are being greeted by a wretched smell - and it is putting people off coming to see one of the county's finest beaches.

A septic tank on the beach at Felixstowe Ferry  is leaking and causing a bad smell Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNA septic tank on the beach at Felixstowe Ferry is leaking and causing a bad smell Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

As well as the terrible smell, visitors have reported seeing a black stain on the picturesque beach and it is believed the culprit is an overflowing septic tank.

Simon Scammell noticed the problem while at an open day at Felixstowe Ferry sailing club.

Mr Scammell told BBC Suffolk: "My kids were playing on the beach when the assistant harbour master came and told me that was outflow for the septic tank."

He said there was a black stain on the beach too.

Stephen Read next to the black area on the beach that has been caused by a septic tank  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNStephen Read next to the black area on the beach that has been caused by a septic tank Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

"You couldn't sit outside and have an ice cream because it was like sitting next to an open sewer. It was hideous."

East Suffolk Council said it was aware of the problem and is taking the matter very seriously.

A spokesman said: "We are working urgently with specialist drainage consultants and the Environment Agency to address the cause of any current discharge and also to design and install at the earliest opportunity a modern replacement drainage system that will ensure there is no prospect of a recurrence of this problem."

Mr Scammell added: "The basic problem is that the vent is still out at low water, so you can still smell it. Something needs to be done, it's not right.

"We are 500metres from a Blue Flag beach, I find it astounding you have an open pipe you can do this next to where people are having picnics, jetskiing, waterskiing, windsurfing - it's just nuts, absolutely bonkers."

Felixstowe Ferry is one of the county's hidden gems, a tiny hamlet of just a few homes, a pub and the fishing community.

The sailing club, a cafe and a fish stall are all popular attractions and it is a haven for families want to crab fish.

A harbour master at Felixstowe Ferry, Stephen Read, said this was a long-standing problem at the beach.

"This started when the sea wall was built in the 90s," said Mr Read.

"The sewage in the tank used to run from the pipe into an open manhole and away from the beach, but when the area was rebuilt with concrete in the 90s the manhole was covered up.

"It's been getting worse and worse for years, but the smell is really bad in hotter weather.

"Even when it's colder, or when the tank has been emptied, you can still smell it."

An Environment Agency spokesman said: "We have received notifications of sewage discharging from a pipe onto the foreshore in Felixstowe Ferry.

"This pipe is owned and maintained by East Suffolk Council and we are giving support to the authority as it works to resolve the problem."

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