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Upward of 1,000 Tyneside residents, living close to one of Britain's largest sewage treatment works, will breath a lot easier this week thanks to the completion of an pounds 8.5M operation to rid the plant of its noxious smells. This first ever UK 'cover-up' of a sewage works involves enclosing eight open primary settlement tanks at the Howdon works beside the River Tyne. They will be covered by an airtight tent of glass reinforced plastic beams and glass fibre sheeting. Air pumped beneath the 13,000m2 lightweight covering absorbs smells generated from the treatment of 4,750 litres of sewage a second. Some of the 64 curved hollow beams double as ducts for the air flow which is then purified before release to the atmosphere.

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