New Zealand Mayor Reassures Residents: Keep Pooping

Lower Hutt has a serious odor problem right now
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2023 1:30 PM CST
New Zealand City Reassured It Can Keep Pooping
A stock photo of a (hopefully) odor-free wastewater treatment plant.   (Getty Images / Wannaludee Usanakul)

There's good news and bad news for residents of a New Zealand city. The good is that their mayor confirmed on Tuesday that they can continue pooping. The bad is that the air will smell regardless. The city of Lower Hutt near Wellington has been dealing with a two-month-long odor issue that the Guardian reports "has left locals gagging and unable to open windows." That could put a damper on Juicy Fest, a music festival slated for Jan. 5 that is expected to draw thousands to hear artists like Ashanti and T-Pain. The subject came up at a November city council meeting in which Mayor Campbell Barry asked if any measures could be taken to curb the smell prior to the event. One official said residents could simply "stop pooing."

Barry on Tuesday clarified that the official was just joking and that the likely increase in sewage volume during the festival will "not make a difference to the odor issue." As for what will make a difference, Newshub reports the odor is tied to a maintenance project that's underway to replace the plant's biofilter, which helps to reduce foul odors; the work isn't slated to be finished until February.

Wellington Water manages the Seaview wastewater treatment plant in question, and the New Zealand Herald reports it has acknowledged that the "odor levels have been unpleasant, inconvenient, and distressful for the community." But "we want to reassure the community there are no known health implications (no bacteria that can be inhaled)." One resident put it more colorfully to Newshub: "It's a smell so strong you can feel it hit you ... like you're being slapped in the face with a wet used diaper." (More unimaginable grossness stories.)

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