The Environment Agency (EA) says complaints about odour from the Pilsworth South Quarry site are falling but there is "still work to be done".

The EA said reports from the public about odours relating to the site have dropped by around a third from 1,735 in February to 553 in March this year, following ongoing work by operator Valencia Waste Management to reduce smells.

The agency reported a substantial increase in the number of complaints between September last year and January this year.

In January, more than 200 complaints were received compared to just two in September.

While the EA says it has not been able to verify each report due to the volume received, it has seen just under 2,700 complaints from residents between September 2023, and March.

Over the last few months, residents from Bury and Rochdale have complained of "vile" odours from the site, which prompted Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham to call a meeting with the UK Health and Security Agency, as well as the EA.

And last month, the EA announced it would begin air quality monitoring to assess the potential health affects of the site on nearby residents. 

Waste has not been accepted at the landfill since February 26.

In its latest newsletter, published by Rochdale Council, the EA said: “The Environment Agency have continued to assess works carried out by Valencia which include the addition of 37 vertical pin wells and five horizontal gas wells.

“The wells act in combination with the gas extraction system on the site to pull the gas and odours into the gas compound where it is combusted to eliminate odours and generate energy.”

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The agency added that it had carried out checks for levels of hydrogen sulphide (HS2) which is known to cause an "eggy" smell.

It said: “The results of this have shown that the levels of H2S detected have dropped significantly over recent weeks.

“We will be continuing to carry out these checks over the coming weeks and you may see our officers in the community carrying out this work.”

It added: “Even though the odour reports are dropping we know that there is still work to be done to ensure that Valencia operate the landfill site in a way that reduces off site odour.”

Valencia is providing regular updates on work to reduce odour at the site via its Facebook page.

In its latest update, published on Thursday, March 28, the operator said "good progress" had been made in covering existing waste despite poor weather conditions.

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It said: “We have finalised the laying of lining material and all additional permanent gas wells that we have drilled are performing well.

“All areas of exposed waste have now been covered, an additional area of 50,000m2 has now been capped since we made the decision to close the site to waste.”

Valencia says it is now working on “balancing” the gas field, but adjusting gas wells to ensure gas collection is optimised.