Yesterday, Christchurch City Council heard tearful pleas from residents tormented by the stench for six months.
The main message from the council was that there will be no quick fix.
This is bad news for Andrew Walker, who lives and works in Bromley near the sewage treatment plant which burned down in November.
He said the stench has been an almost constant presence.
“You just can’t get away from it. You’re lying in your bed sleeping and the next time you wake up it’s like someone has a bag of poo on your head and it’s just awful. You can’t go back to sleep because it stinks.”
He said the smell also affected people’s health.
“People have headaches, sore eyes, lung problems. I mean it’s shit for god’s sake, and shit that’s been treated with chemicals, and then he There’s also the smell of burnt plastic that comes with it. And the fiberglass from when the thing caught on fire.”
Walker said he was surprised there was no health warning in place or advice on how to limit exposure.
The Canterbury District Health Board issued health advice on November 2, after the first sewage plant fire, on the impact of smoke.
Since then there has been no definite advice and no one from DHB was available to comment today.
Wendy Maddocks, senior lecturer in health sciences at the University of Canterbury, an aromatherapy expert in patient care, said that just as a positive smell could be therapeutic, a bad smell could have negative effects .
“It’s almost like a reverse effect,” she said, “and if you’ve been exposed to negative smells, especially prolonged exposure, it can really impact mood and feelings of well-being. well-being. But it can also be associated with memory and other things as well. You connect with that smell or that bad memory at another time in your life.”
The problem wasn’t just affecting those in Bromley, with reports from New Brighton, Huntsbury Hill, Papanui, Sumner and many other parts of the city.
Canterbury Regional Council’s Smelt-it app reported unpleasant smells.
In a statement, the council’s area delivery manager, Ruth Sarson, said since the fire she had received 3,363 complaints likely to be linked to the sewage treatment plant, including 2,026 in the last two month.
She said she proactively monitors the Bromley area twice a week.
“We continue to monitor odor through all available channels and work closely with CCC to ensure remediation plans and timelines are met. Our intent is to ensure open communication and information exchange between We and CCC are very aware that this is a serious and stressful matter for residents – especially those in the Bromley community.”
Christchurch City Council will announce that the contractor will start removing burnt waste next week and has promised bi-monthly reports on how the community is coping and suggestions for assistance.