The South Taranaki deputy mayor hopes the prosecution of his own council and Fonterra over dumping of byproducts and contaminated milk will stop it happening again.
Last year Fonterra, with the permission of the council, dumped milk contaminated with oil industry waste and a byproduct buttermilk at a waste-water treatment plant in Eltham.
They are both being prosecuted for breaches of the Resource Management Act.
Some Eltham residents, including deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne, said they had been poisoned by the gases coming from the treatment facility since the products were dumped.
He said the incident had taken a huge toll on his community and on him personally and politically for speaking out.
"There's been three people who have actually died and no one can say it's directly caused by the poisonous gases but I happen to know, dealing with these people, that the incredible stress that it's putting everyone under certainly hasn't helped," he said
"I've been heavily criticised by certain people in the council - including the mayor and the chief executive officer - for representing the people who voted me in and the people who are my friends and neighbours," Mr Ballantyne said.
"These are my friends and neighbours and family involved ... when I see terrible things happening to them I can't stand back and ignore it which is what I've been asked to do."
The council declined to comment.