Sewage plant stink likely discoloured Bromley houses - report

Source: Radio New Zealand

Some residents who are enduring the stench from Bromley's wastewater plant want the Christchurch City Council to pay for paint discolouration which is affecting their properties.

Lianne Dalziel has fronted up to Bromley locals, angry about a smell lingering from a wastewater treatment plant fire last year.

Testing of homes in neighbouring areas has shown lead paint on some properties has been affected by hydrogen sulphide coming from the treatment plant.

New Brighton resident Hayley L'Huillier, who bought her two-storey home in December 2021, has noticed discolouration in areas of the cladding and under the eaves.

READ MORE: Frustration as Christchurch sewage stink fix makes slow progress

L'Huillier said cleaning efforts proved to be a futile exercise.

"We did clean the front door area when we noticed it building up," she said.

"It did come off with soap and water but it had come back within a few weeks.

"The paintwork seems to be bubbling, it's not just discolouration, there's damage there."

A private insurance claim was declined with environmental damage pinpointed as the cause.

L'Huillier said a paint retailer told her it was not a paint issue.

She suspected the staining was possibly a result of the wastewater plant, in which case she said the council should be chipping in.

"Or subsidising the cost of cleaning ... it's not cheap to get your house commercially cleaned, and regular maintenance on houses is expensive anyway," she said.

"I don't think we should be out of pocket because of environmental issues that have happened, which were out of our control."

The council commissioned testing of homes experiencing discolouration of cladding near the plant.

The ENGEO report released on Friday showed about two-thirds of homes had a likely reaction between hydrogen sulphide from the plant and lead in the paint.

The council said the discolouration would be temporary.

It said discolouration of the remaining homes was related to mould.

"We have been advised that the discolouration is likely to only be temporary, and a 1966 study into the effects of hydrogen sulphide on lead-based paint does not suggest permanent damage to the paint," a spokesperson said.

Don Gould, who has been advocating for stench-hit residents, said some may opt for the small claims court.

"I expect a flood of small claims unless [the] council is a lot more proactive to address the problems that some of those residents are facing financially."

Councillors agreed at a meeting on Wednesday for another report to be done, looking at whether it should offer free clean-up for affected residents.

A further $180,000 to provide more support for schools and targeted help for residents still affected by odours from the wastewater treatment plant was also approved by the council.

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