An attempt to cure the foul stench plaguing Whanganui is being made this morning by a helicopter dousing the sewerage treatment plant with lime slurry.
The plant has been emitting the odour for more than a month, leaving the District Council scrambling to find a way to rid the city of its new fragrance.
Rancid fat floating and festering on the top of the ponds has been blamed for the problem but the council doesn’t know where it came from.
The council also blames the efficiency of the bacteria in the sludge layer of the ponds, because they are working too well breaking it down and releasing a lot of hydrogen sulphide gas.
A helicopter is spraying lime slurry on the ponds this morning in a bid to cap the sludge layer and stop the smelly gas from being released.
It should suppress the smell for a week before breaking down and dissipating.
If the lime slurry treatment doesn’t work, the council will enact emergency powers and discharge the sewage straight out to sea.
Mayor Annette Main says the waste would be pumped out to sea as a last resort and in an “extreme situation”.
“No one wants to undertake this action but we have got to the point where it's a matter of the well being of our community and we have to take this option,” she says.
The council passed a motion at their meeting yesterday giving power to the chief executive to give the green light to a sea discharge.