Complaints of unpleasant smell returning to town

19:38, Feb 27 2014

The strange, pungent odour which plagued Timaruvians' noses a couple of summers ago may have wafted back into town.

Environment Canterbury (ECan) confirmed it had received complaints yesterday about an unpleasant odour from an unknown location in Timaru.

While some described it as "fishy", resident Clive Shaw said it smelt like "offal".

"It smelt like something coming from a meatworks. It certainly made my wife and I gag," he said.

"It was really unpleasant ... I've had to close all the doors and windows (of his Pages Rd home) to keep it out."

Over the summers of 2011 and 2012, ECan's pollution hotline received dozens of calls about a "fishy" odour wafting through Timaru.

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ECan investigated about a dozen potential offenders, including Alliance Group's Smithfield plant, South Canterbury By-Products, the Timaru District Council rubbish dump and Sanford's fish processing plant when people began to complain in January each year.

However, it could not be categorically linked to any of those sites.

Last year, ECan spent $9000 on a six-month software trial in order to detect the source of the odour, but the number of complaints was markedly down on the previous two summers.

That led then-compliance monitoring team leader Jason Evered to wonder whether the smell had "disappeared of its own accord".

The Timaru Herald