The mystery behind the stink in central Auckland that has left some businesses struggling to attract customers - and some pedestrians holding their noses - has finally been solved.
The City Rail Link (CRL) has revealed the sewer smell is emanating from works to strengthen the Orakei Main Sewer, before the new CRL midtown station is built on Albert St.
But despite CRL's assurances that the smell was being monitored daily and an odour suppressant had been used, businesses said there was still a "horrendous" stink that, combined with construction noise, was sending customers away.
The sewer serves much of Auckland and runs east-west across the Victoria St West and Albert St intersection, where the first trench is being dug to take a pair of tunnels for the underground rail link running from Britomart to Mt Eden, at a cost of up to $3.4 billion.
CRL spokeswoman Carol Greensmith said a "normal mild sewer odour" had been present intermittently throughout the works and that Auckland Council monitored smell as part of its compliance surveillance of the project.
"Daily monitoring has been undertaken and no unacceptable levels of odour have been detected outside the site boundary.
"We have used misting/odour suppressant while at the bottom of the shaft but we can't do that while we install each individual section of the riser [manhole]."
Greensmith said the riser was capped off whenever possible.
CRL had not received any formal complaints about the smell and was engaging with those businesses nearby the works being carried out on the sewer, which were due to be completed in early December.
Shobhana Ranchhodji who runs floristry shop Roma Blooms, right next to the works, said the smell and noise coming from the construction had affected all the businesses in the area.
"The smell is quite horrendous but none of us can do anything about it, it is there.
"It is progress and progress isn't all sweet and calm, progress is noisy sometimes and it is all those things with noise and smells but it's just how can we all cope through it?
"How can we help our businesses stay here and be able to trade still?"
Ranchhodji said the loss of customers made her wonder how she could afford to keep staff on.
Satender Phogat, manager of Taj Mahal Indian restaurant on Victoria St West, said the smell and loud construction noise was deterring his lunchtime customers.
He said the smell had been present for at least three months.
While Phogat supported the CRL project, he said he would prefer the work went on at night to save the businesses that operate during daytime hours from the smell, noise and dust.
A kitchen worker at gourmet burger joint Velvet Burger, located opposite the road works on Victoria St West, said the stench had been blowing through their kitchen.
"It was quite a foul smell, it smelled like rubbish. I don't even know how to describe it; it was just a really disgusting smell," said Paige Smith.
"It's not what you want to smell when you're having a burger."
Smith said the smell mainly affected kitchen staff and some customers sitting at the kitchen end of the restaurant, which looks out to the roadworks.
"It's definitely not what we want long term. Especially around Christmas time it's not ideally what you want to have because people are in the city, people want to have a nice day out in the sun."