Stink tank: The sewage plant at MAWI is the source of the odour. *Photo by Glenn Tucker
Stink tank: The sewage plant at MAWI is the source of the odour. *Photo by Glenn Tucker

A stench emanating from the sewage treatment plant  at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MAWI) is upsetting residents in the Devon Springs Road area.

One resident said the smell is  “horrible” and has been a problem for residents for quite some time.

“I moved into the area about two years ago but a little over a year ago, it started smelling really bad,” she told us.

“It just overcomes you. You have to close your windows to keep the stench out because it seems like once it gets in your house, it takes a long time to leave. It’s as if it seeps into your furniture.”

MAWI chiefs have apologized and say they’re working to fix the problem. 

The resident says while she has not reached out to the Bermuda Hospitals Board to find out what is the exact cause of the smell, she knows it’s the treatment plant because she often sees employees from Works and Engineering working there.

“There is clearly a problem,” she says.

However, another resident who lives in the area says she has made frequent calls to the Facilities Manager at MAWI, who told her that the plant is old and is set to be replaced by November this year.

“But what are we to do in the meanwhile?” she ponders. “The smell is so sickening, you have to shut up your entire home. It’s so bad, one night I left my bedroom window open. At 2.30 in the morning I jumped up. I was awakened by the smell; it’s that bad.”

The resident adds she has nothing but praise for the Facilities Manager as he has always been amenable, despite the problem continuing.

“I just don’t know what we are expected to do in the meantime.”

Another resident used social media to vent her frustration, replying to a post recently made about the problematic stench: “That awful smell has been present off and on since I was little. 

‘Our kids breathe it in’

“Nothing will be done about it as long as no one formally complains. I say the neighbourhood stages an open protest. If it can be smelled (even as far as Elliot) it is obviously toxins in the air which our kids our breathing in as they play, as we breath in as we drive. Sure there are bigger problems in the island, but shame on MAWI. It’s disgusting and unsanitary.”

Her account is corroborated by a resident who lives on Boundary Crescent Lane, approximately a kilometre away: “Funnily I smelt it for the first time yesterday. At first I could not figure out where it came from.”

Meanwhile, the BHB says it is aware of the ongoing problem and a new plant is on the way. Through a spokesperson, it says: “The BHB has been given Government funding to replace the current sewage treatment plant at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI). The business case for the new plant has been completed and the tender process is in place. Once the tender process is complete, the new plant will take several months to construct, depending on the selected design.

“In the meantime, BHB is monitoring the issue of sewage odour with daily inspections and additives to help mitigate the smell. Excess odours should dissipate within 24 hours following additive treatment. We apologize to MWI neighbours who have been impacted and we will continue to monitor the situation until and after the new plant is online.”