Page last updated at 11:15 GMT, Friday, 16 May 2008 12:15 UK

Probe into town's strange smell

Mystery surrounds a strange smell that has engulfed a Black Country town for several years.

Walsall Council said it had carried out a survey of all its drains after receiving scores of complaints from residents about the sewage smell.

It said the drains were clear and the only other causes were the sewers or the River Tame.

The Environment Agency, which tends the river, and Severn Trent Water, which runs the sewers, denied responsibility.

'Knocks you out'

Newsagent Rajinder Johal, who runs a shop in Leicester Street, said he had complained about the smell several times.

He said: "I've been here now seven years and sometimes on warm days it knocks you out.

"I feel embarrassed. People pass by and I've heard comments from people saying ooh, look at the smell from that shop."

Adrian Andrew, the deputy leader of Walsall Council, said: "If only we knew, we could deal with it.

"We've done extensive works on the drains that we're responsible for and implemented works to alleviate some of the problems.

'Practically impossible'

"But I think we have spoken to Severn Trent Water and I think they need to look at their sewers and all agencies involved need to work together to get this sorted out."

A Severn Trent Water spokesman denied that the problem was caused by its sewers.

He said: "There are sewage pipes that run under the town but they are enclosed and underground.

"It's practically impossible that they could cause an odour and that they've had no complaints over odour issues."

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: "We don't know what's causing the smell, but there are no reports of any pollutants going in to the river."

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