Lower Hutt residents say the stench coming from a local wastewater treatment plant is so disgusting it has brought on headaches and made them physically sick.
One resident posted on Facebook: “We were literally all gagging on the weekend. It’s been getting stronger and stronger!”
Another person said it smelled like someone had “taken a dump” outside their home.
Wellington Water said it was aware of a strong odour in the air over the weekend close to the Seaview Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The smell is a result of the plant’s operator replacing a biofilter.
The most odorous air and gases are extracted through a ventilation system and blown through a bed of bark and other organic material, which form the biofilter.
“While the odour levels are particularly strong and unpleasant, we want to reassure the community there are no known health implications (no bacteria that can be inhaled), and that we are following due process with the maintenance works we are doing at the treatment plant,” Wellington Water said.
“As we progress the replacement of the biofilter media at the plant, we do expect odour levels to improve. We are working closely with the plant operator and contractor to ensure the work is done as quickly and safely as possible.”
However, one resident argued there were health implications when the smell was so bad it was making people physically sick and causing headaches.
“Our poor kids don’t want to play sport at Hutt Park due to the smell. Your ‘update’ is not helpful as it doesn’t tell us when we can expect the issue to be fixed,” they responded to Wellington Water on Facebook.
Another person said they got a massive headache from the smell while they were in their driveway.
“It is so unpleasant to run and breathe it in. It’s disgusting.”
One resident could smell it from as far away as Naenae.
“Was pretty sick to know the smell is travelling that far.”
Wellington Water acknowledged the odour levels have been uncomfortable, unpleasant and a long-term issue.
The water services provider is working with Hutt City Council on planning future upgrades to improve the plant’s performance.
The council and Wellington Water are planning a public meeting over the stench, with the details to be confirmed.
Georgina Campbell is a Wellington-based reporter who has a particular interest in local government, transport, and seismic issues. She joined the Herald in 2019 after working as a broadcast journalist.
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