Sewage spill stinks up suburb

1:28 pm on 1 February 2019

Residents of Bell Block in New Plymouth - where 1.5 million litres of sewage was spilt into a local stream - say they're now waking up to an almighty stink.

 Lily Capper

Lily Capper Photo: Supplied

A council pumping station failure dumped enough sewage to fill half an Olympic-sized swimming pool into the Mangati Stream, killing dozens of fish and eels.

The spill happened overnight on 21 January but was only revealed to the wider public after RNZ enquiries.

Now residents are reporting a foul smell in the area.

Lily Capper lives on Mangati Road.

At first she blamed her partner, but then realised the smell was too intense.

"It was like a dead rat. Something dead. It didn't smell like fire. People kept saying it was something to do with fire, but it was something real bad."

Luke Sowman,11, found dozens of dead fish and eels in the Mangati Stream at Bell Block, New Plymouth

Local Luke Sowman,11, found dozens of dead fish and eels in the Mangati Stream. Photo: RNZ/ Robin Martin

Ms Capper thought she was imagining things but then saw a lot of people complaining about the smell on the Bell Block Community Facebook page.

"And then I knew I wasn't the only one going crazy about it."

Ms Capper thought the smell could be related to the recent sewage spill into the Mangati Stream.

She was not alone.

Puri Hayman lived on Soles Avenue which runs off Mangati Road and said the smell made her feel ill.

"I woke up and this horrible smell was around and it hung around for half an hour to three quarters of an hour. It was quite sickening actually and I have been feeling sick this morning."

Ms Hayman said although the stench cleared in about an hour she thought it was related to the spillage.

She wanted the local authorities to step up and do something about it.

"Fix it and make it smell like roses," she said.

A Taranaki Regional Council staff member, who was taking water samples from the Mangati Stream, told RNZ it was "odorous" near the pump station and that it would take some time to come right.

In a statement, council compliance officer Bruce Pope said it had received one report from the public about a stench in Bell Block and confirmed a council staff member working in the area had also reported a bad odour.

Mr Pope said it had not received any formal complaints, however.

It was too early to say whether the smell was related to the spill, Mr Pope said.

The New Plymouth District Council, which was responsible for the pump that failed causing the original sewage spillage, again apologised for any inconvenience it had caused.

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