Odours from wetlands and gas plants

The glow from Longford Gas Plants, taken from the Princes Highway travelling towards Sale last Friday night. Photo: Darin Roy

A stench wafting about Sale and surrounds concerning residents during the past few days are a combination of some smelly events currently taking place.

For a few days, Longford residents have been posting online about a “rotten onion” smell, with one poster saying it was making her “eyes water and my head ache”.

The Country Fire Authority has attributed the odours to a combination of wind direction, stagnant water and rotting vegetation, as well as odours from Longford Gas Plants.

In a warning issued for Sale, The Heart, Wurruk and East Sale this week, the CFA said residents should not be alarmed, as there was no incident or emergency, and no threat to communities.

Part of Esso’s odour issues has been attributed to a breakdown of glycol by bacteria in its wastewater storage pond.

An Esso spokesperson said staff were working to rectify this issue as quickly as possible.

“…while unpleasant, it is not hazardous and does not present a health risk,” he said.

“Esso regrets any inconvenience that this may have caused the community.”

The company has notified the EPA, and began an internal investigation to determine the cause to ensure the risk of this occurring again is reduced.

The spokesperson said Esso also safely and temporarily increased its flaring on Tuesday, November 23, following a process issue, which had now been resolved.

“Flaring is necessary for the continued safe operations of our plants, and is conducted in accordance with our EPA licence,” the spokesperson said.

The gas plants regularly flare off, where they burn excess gas on site.