Sewage causing a stink with Hokitika residents

The smell coming from sewage ponds on a small West Coast town is so bad even the mayor has admitted he's dry retching. 

Hokitika residents have been so outraged by the smell they have raised it with the Westland District Council to do something, urgently.

"Well in the last couple of months, it's been absolutely shocking, since we've been down to the council, they have realised that, well they realised before but nothing was happening," local Barry Pearson says. 

"So I've decided to be the pond person, because I'm over having that smell come up to my house. 

"It's was so bad if people would come up to see us they would have to go home because they couldn't bear [it] often I had to clear off and get away from it."

Another resident Kerry Weston, who owns the Birdsong Backpackers says the smell was at its worst in May.

The council has acknowledged it had breached on of the consent conditions but is addressing the problem after residents aired their concerns.

Westland mayor Bruce Smith said the smell has been happening on and off for the past 10 years.

The ponds, designed in 1971 are cracking under the pressure of increased tourism in the region, which has put extra stress on the ponds that usually only cater for the 3000 residents. 

And changes to the beach following Cyclone Gita have left the pipe sitting out of the water.

"The residents, we have their back, we fully support the issue. In fact I was out here one day... The smell was so bad I was dry retching."

The council approached the Christchurch City Council who supplied aeration equipment which has made a big difference to reduce the problem, Mr Smith says.

"That's the short term solution."

Future upgrades for the ponds are planned long term. 

"The remediation and upgrade [of the ponds] has changed from about 17th priority to 2nd," Mr Smith says. 

Mr Smith refuted comments from residents that condoms and rubbish had been coming out of the pipe. 

"There was talk of condoms on the beach, what a lot of crap so to speak - I dont think that's a issue, I went for a walk today and didn't see anything."