It’s back - suspect smell lingering over Corby and Kettering again

Traditional muck spreading
Traditional muck spreading

The pong over the north of the county is back - but this time landfill is not solely to blame.

The vomit-like stench has been sniffed by many people living in Corby and Kettering over the past few days, and it was particularly pungent yesterday (Thursday).

It was first smelt in July when the Environment Agency said that the Mick George landfill site at Rushton was to blame, and that they were monitoring the situation.

But this new smell is more than likely coming from farmers taking advantage of the warm weather and firm ground to spread muck on their fields.

An Environment Agency spokeswoman said: “We are aware of some ongoing issues from the landfill but we don’t feel that, this time, the landfill is the main cause.

“We appreciate the odour is similar but it might be people miss-associating spreading with landfill. That’s understandable given the previous smell was caused by landfill.”

The Environment Agency is still monitoring the Mick George Site, and the one at Kirby Lodge near Corby where they say they have not received a large number of complaints from this year.

And there’s further good news for people living near the Rushton Landfill site. This weekend will see the return of a gas engine that will process gases from under the ground and turn them into electricity, which should solve some of the odour issues around the site.

What is muck spreading?

Farmers use muck to help grass or crops grow.

It’s use in agriculture means it doesn’t have to go to landfill

Traditional muck can be made up of solid waste from cow sheds which is thrown on to the land from a trailer, or from slurry, a more watery form of manure stored in tank them spread on the land through nozzles

Some farmers use hen pen, which is the deep bedding material used in hen houses. It can contain dead birds and is sometimes stockpiled in fields for use later in the season. It is rich in nitrogen and smells of ammonia.

More modern muck is either sludge cake - the solid, dried waste from our sewerage system which is left over when the water is treated - or bio-fertiliser which is food waste collected from our homes and treated.

Farmers spread in hot, dry weather when there is not a strong wind or rain and tractors can easily get across the fields.

Spreading usually takes place at the end of summer but can take place at other times if conditions are right.

If you encounter a problem, you should get in touch with the environment agency.