THAMES WATER could face a 'potentially huge' civil action after losing the latest round in a long-running legal battle over sewage smells from its Mogden treatment works in west London.
A solicitor acting for residents living near the Mogden works issued the warning after a nuisance abatement order was upheld in court last week.
Mogden Residents' Action Group (MRAG) has been campaigning since 1998 for steps to be taken to reduce odours from the Thames Water plant.
Hounslow Borough Council served abatement notices in 2001, but magistrates upheld Thames' appeal in 2002.
The High Court overturned this verdict and referred the case back to Feltham Magistrates' Court, which found in favour of the council on November 9.
Now the group has instructed Hugh James Solicitors to press for compensation.
Firm partner Neil Stockdale said: 'It's potentially huge because of the number of people affected.
'MRAG had a petition signed by over 3,000 people all complaining about the problem. The scale of an action is quite significant.'
Thames was given two years to comply with the order, an extension on the 60-day period specified by the original order.
A spokesman said another appeal was under consideration.
He added that £1.2M has been committed to reducing smells, on top of £6M already spent.
But plans to cover the site, costing over £50M, depend on Ofwat funding.
An Ofwat spokesman said the regulator was concerned that customers should not foot the bill for unnecessary work.