The fire damaged the roof of sewage treatment plants. Photo / Christchurch City Council


Nothing compares to a beautiful day in Christchurch near the beach – except for the stench in the air in the east.

On Monday afternoon with the windows down, I drove towards the seaside suburbs of New Brighton, Mount Pleasant and Sumner to breathe some fresh air and, more importantly, to smell the stench that hit the headlines.

Bromley is zero and in the news with a triple pong hit.

No lamb raid here, just a raid on the nostrils of the local miserable stench, and the residents will have enough.

The eastern suburbs have overcome more than their share of mental rupture – earthquakes, thinning, and now the putrid smell of oxidizing ponds, burned sewage treatment plants and a giant compost heap of the city.

As I approached closer, unpleasant air began to enter the car and spin in the cabin.

Suddenly I coughed and my eyes watered.

It was horrible and disgusting. I almost dropped out.

It smelled like a smelly old toilet block that had been standing for months and had never been cleaned.

When the sun shone from the water of the pond on the dam in 25-degree heat, I could not believe that people rode with their windows down, cyclists rode without a mask, and the motorcyclist rode with a raised helmet – all sucked rotten air.

For several days it covers the entire city up to the airport, which is more than 20 km away, on the prevailing northeastern sea breeze.

I knocked on the house of a woman who lived next door to a burned-out sewage treatment plant.

She laughed, opening the door, letting in an unpleasant odor, knowing what questions would follow.

She told me she had lived in a wooden bungalow for 30 years and was used to “pong” as she called it.

“It was a bit smelly last night. He comes and goes to the house, and I open the windows and doors at night. “

I asked why she opens the house and lets out the stench? Then the penny fell.

“You don’t smell when you sleep,” she told me. – The best time to open the windows.

For years, residents have complained about the organic matter and disgusting smell of the city’s smoldering food waste.

Add to that the now-defunct wastewater treatment plant, which caught fire last November, and was used to clean raw waste full of tons of rotten organic matter.

And now ponds with fecal water with untreated wastewater that add a repulsive odor.

The city council aims to remove all fire-damaged materials from sewage treatment plants, but it will take until the end of the year, while the huge compost pile is “not easy to fix,” Mayor Liane Dalzil said.

One option for the board is to relocate the plant, but it could take six years, or they could close it altogether.

No one has to pay full tariffs to withstand this – including a woman who lives near a burned-out treatment plant.

“They’ll sort it out one way or another,” she said with a smile.

Despite the smell, she can still see the funny side.

“I tell my friends to keep their shit to themselves!”

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