CALLS have been made to improve a city sewage plant after an electrical fault caused a stench to waft out across parts of Southampton.

City councillor Steve Galton as called for investment at Millbrook wastewater treatment plant to improve the impact on neighbouring residents.

It follows a spike in the of complaints about a potent smell in Millbrook - caused when a power-cut interfered with the facility's odour suppression system.

Southern Water, who operate the wastewater treatment, has since apologised unreservedly for the smell.

But Millbrook councillor Galton says changes are still need.

He said: "In the short term I am battling to get to the root cause of the recent issues.

"However, if longer dry spells and heat waves are going to have this impact on the smell then we need to improve the odour suppression on the site or improve the actual site design in my opinion - tens of millions were spent to protect water quality going in to the Test but what about the quality of life for local residents who are being forced to shut windows in extreme heat just to keep a sewer smell out."

He added: "This isn't just a problem for local residents though.

"It is also the businesses and customers of these businesses.

"I know myself how hard it can be to play football at Goals for example when you are trying to deal with an awful sewage smell that makes you want to be sick as soon as you get there, never mind when you start running around and breathing deeper."

The calls come following a spike in the number residents making complaints about the potent smell in the area around Millbrook wastewater treatment works.

Southern Water, which runs the facility, has admitted it is to blame for the increase in the smell.

The company says a power-cut affected its ‘odour control system’.

It also blamed the recent summer heatwave, in which temperatures rocketed above 30C in Southampton.

In a statement on Twitter, the company said: “We would like to apologise unreservedly to residents who have been affected by increased smells from our Millbrook wastewater treatment works.

“Sewage treatment works are essential for maintaining standards in water quality, however we have a duty to ensure we are doing everything we can to reduce the impact of our vital operations on nearby residents.

“Recently we suffered a power outage at our Millbrook wastewater treatment works, which affected our odour control systems.

“Our specialist crew worked 24/7 to find and fix the issues and this was resolved last week.

“However, our customers have told us they have noticed an increase in odours during the heatwave.

“Odours from wastewater treatment sites can increase during hot weather.

“We would like to thank our customers for their patients and understanding.”