ACT News

Smell lingering over Tuggeranong suburbs causes frustration among local residents

Tuggeranong residents are continuing to complain about a foul odour smelt throughout their suburbs.

Numerous residents have lodged complaints with the ACT government about the stench in recent months, with many believing it is drifting from the Mugga Lane tip

Richard Larkey and his wife Ana have lived in Fadden for 22 years but are disgusted with the regular putrid odours which ...
Richard Larkey and his wife Ana have lived in Fadden for 22 years but are disgusted with the regular putrid odours which they think comes from the Mugga Lane tip over the nearby ridge. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

With temperatures set to reach 38 degrees on Wednesday with winds of up to 20km/h, many are worried the smell will only get worse. 

Ana Larkey, who has lived in Fadden for 22 years, said the annoying  smell was strongest in the early morning or late evening.

A government investigation has ruled out the Mugga Lane tip as a source of the smell.
A government investigation has ruled out the Mugga Lane tip as a source of the smell. Photo: Graham Tidy

"It's very inconvenient because you have to make sure the house is closed off so it cannot be smelt," she said. "It doesn't go on for a long time but we wish it didn't happen at all.

"The smell itself is not so mysterious. It smells as you expect; like garbage."

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Last year, the government launched an investigation into the smell with the Environment Protection Agency and ACT NOWaste, although the cause has not yet been identified.

At this stage, the investigation has ruled out the Mugga Lane tip with ICON Water also called to investigate a sewage smell in the Fadden and Macarthur areas.

On Tuesday, shadow spokeswoman for the environment Nicole Lawder  called on the government to resolve the issue.

"Throughout December and again over the past few days, I've received complaints from Tuggeranong residents about the foul odour they believe is coming from the Mugga Lane tip," she said.

"For too long this has been an issue and residents deserve to enjoy the warmer weather, without being subjected to the foul smell."

Ms Lawder said the smell had been reported in a number of locations and did not seem to be a sewage leak, as initially suspected by the government.

"The government and the EPA need to determine the cause of the odour as a matter of urgency and fix the problem," she said. "It's been an issue for too long and is causing major inconvenience for many residents."

An ACT government spokesman said all complaints about the smell were immediately forwarded to EPA officials, who were keeping a diary of odour occurrences. 

"As part of the investigations to determine the source and cause of the odour, the EPA is in regular contact with the operator of the Mugga tip in order to obtain any supporting information..." a government spokesman said. 

"The work being done will enable the EPA to put together a more detailed picture of the nature and cause of the odour and ultimately what can be done to minimise its occurrence and impact."

Other residents have smelt the odour at least once a week while walking in the area and suspect it is getting worse.

One told The Canberra Times he suspected the smell was coming from a raw sewage  leak at the Kambah ovals. 

In February, Fadden and Macarthur residents lodged 76 complaints about a rotting vegetable-type smell coming from the nearby landfill site.

The government acknowledged the smell was the result of a restructure at the tip, which saw rubbish uncovered and moved on the site.  

In 2014, Liberal MLA Andrew Wall used Facebook to complain about an unbearable smell of garbage in the Macarthur area and called on the government to ensure it was contained.

"It is totally unacceptable that better management practices haven't been engaged particularly in the warmer months" he said.

One Kambah resident, Naomi Mozley-Betts, said the "putrid stench" was so bad it made her kids gag while playing outside.

"We are having to keep windows closed ... so much so for fresh air," she said. "I can't even hang clothes on the line as it sticks to them and they need to then be rewashed."

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