An unpleasant stench noticed by residents of Swann Beach and Stanmore Bay in recent weeks has lead to investigations by Auckland Council and Watercare.
Council has suggested that the source is a stagnant stream, however several other theories have also been put forward.
Simon Camp of Swann Beach says at times the smell has been strong enough to drive his family and friends off the deck and inside. He says he notices it most in the early morning and at night, rather than during the day. Some nights it has been strong enough to wake him up. “Once it was so bad I thought the house might be on fire,” Simon says. “It smelt a bit like burning nylon carpet. I’ve lived on the peninsula since 1981 and I’ve never smelt anything as bad as this before.”
One morning, at 3am, he called Watercare, which had received several other complaints and launched an investigation.
Watercare spokesperson Maxine Clayton says staff visited Swann Beach on February 7 and found the pump station was operating normally.
Cracks were discovered on a manhole cover near Ardern Avenue and Swann Beach Road and this was fixed. Other pump stations in the area are being checked. However, Maxine says that the overwhelming odour in the area seems to be coming from rotting seaweed on the beach – a suggestion also put forward by Simon and several others who contacted Hibiscus Matters.
At the same time, Auckland Council was carrying out an investigation that lead it to the conclusion that the problem is actually a stagnant stream.
Council’s pollution investigation team inspected the Stanmore Bay area after complaints about the odour. Council’s compliance and resource consents manager, Steve Pearce, says the Stanmore Bay Stream was found to be effectively stagnant, blue/black in colour and giving off an “eggy” odour.
“This is likely a result of decomposition of organic matter within the stream and is not an unusual occurrence in smaller streams over summer months when they dry out and stagnate,” he says. “The situation will remain until rainfall causes the water flow in the stream to return and flushes out the stagnant water.”
If you see pollution, contact Council’s 24-hour pollution hotline 09 377 3107.