Opponents to an application from a meatworks to discharge treated waste water into the Waimakariri River in Canterbury, describe it as a disgusting practice.
Silver Fern Farms has asked Canterbury Regional Council to renew its consent to discharge water into the Waimakariri River when its holding ponds become too full.
The city council's quake-damaged treatment plant can not currently take the water.
Mayor of Waimakariri District Council, David Ayers told the environmental commissioners that while he supports the submission, it is an extremely reluctant support.
"We'd rather these discharges were not happening at all, and so I'll say we don't want it but we recognises the circumstances."
Mr Ayers told the panel if the consent is granted, it should be surrendered as soon as the city council's treatment plant in Bromley is repaired.
Councillor Neville Atkinson told the environmental commissioners that the stench and film of fat that is left on the river after a discharge is disgusting.
He said people with boats that have used the river following a discharge have to tip boiling water over their vessels to remove the residue from their hulls.
Mr Atkinson said the pollution is unacceptable and local resident, Adrian Bell, who opposes the application vehemently, told the panel that issuing the consent would be a retrograde step.