Lunenburg council has approved a $54,000 engineering contract to deal with a smelly problem that's hovered over the town and wafted through the homes of residents for years. 

The contract, given to Atlantic Canadian firm CBCL Ltd., will pay for a new odour control system to be designed for the wastewater treatment plant. 

Marcus Parrish has been dealing with the problem for almost five years. He says the smell becomes overwhelming on hot days when there's no wind. But it's not limited to summer months. 

"You could say it's like one of those blue portables, at the end of the day at the big ex," he said. "It's very thick and very sulphurous." 

New design includes biofilter 

In a statement, the town says the design will include a biofilter. Processed air will pass through organic matter like wood chips, soaking up the smell. 

A lack of rainfall has also contributed to the problem this summer, the town said. Dry weather causes buildups of solids in pumping stations. Industrial vacuum equipment will be used to clean the stations out. 

Mayor Rachel Bailey said in the statement that the plant was not originally equipped with odour management systems because "it was thought at the time" they weren't needed. 

It's 'embarrassing at times'

Town engineer Marc Belliveau says the odours do not present health risks.

Parrish, however, says the smell has been so bad that the previous owners of his house moved because of the smell. The building doesn't have air conditioning. On hot days, they don't have many options when it comes to air flow. 

"It's a big problem in tourist season. It doesn't put the town's best foot forward," he said. "It's kind of embarrassing at times."

The design work is expected to be complete in October.