ON THE NOSE: The air in this Sunshine Coast town has been smelling of gas, rotten eggs, and sewerage.
ON THE NOSE: The air in this Sunshine Coast town has been smelling of gas, rotten eggs, and sewerage.

'Sewage smell' plagues Sunshine Coast town

A MYSTERIOUS odour which has wafted over a Sunshine Coast suburb in the past week has become the talk of the town.

The smell, which has been described as similar to gas, rotten eggs, and sewerage, has at times drifted from Muller Park to the intersection of Kennedy and Bli Bli Rds, Bli Bli, a distance of about 1km.

Sue Stephens, of Bli Bli News, said the smell seemed to come and go.

"A lot of people sort of mention it. We went through a stage where we were having this a bit," she said.

Janet Warman, who has runs the Bli Bli Riverside Caravan Park with her husband, Peter, said the smell was noticeable.

"It's like a sewage smell. Two or three nights we've noticed it," she said.

Unitywater, which installed a vent pole on Lefoes Rd last year to address a previous odour issue, has received complaints about the smell and is investigating.

But acting executive manager of infrastructure services Michael O'Toole said inspections had found no blockages or operational issues.

"We have taken water samples from the Maroochy River and are investigating if the odour may be caused by another source," he said.

Maroochy Wetlands Sanctuary volunteer believes the cause could be the nearby riverside mangroves.

BAD ODOUR: The mangrove area at Bli Bli could be the source of a mystery smell which comes and goes at Bli Bli.
BAD ODOUR: The mangrove area at Bli Bli could be the source of a mystery smell which comes and goes at Bli Bli. Warren Lynam

John Tucker said the grey mangrove, Avicennia marina, was fruiting heavily at the moment and the fallen, rotting fruit released hydrogen sulphide.

"I think it depends on a number of factors: how heavily the mangrove fruits, and what's happening with air movement at the time. We've had a fair bit of still air and the gas doesn't get blown away," he said.

Mr Tucker said the wide coverage of the odour indicated it was not from a "point source" like a leaking pipe and the location of it suggested it was linked with the river area.

In 2011, the Ballina Shire Council investigated complaints about sewage-like odours and found decomposing mangrove fruit to be the source.


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