Whanganui is to delay the construction of a $38 million wastewater plant for three years.
The district council confirmed the decision this week during its long-term plan hearings.
Mayor Annette Main said the council was determined to get the job done properly this time, after the plant built in 2007 failed.
A rotting sludge accumulated in the treatment ponds, swathing parts of Whanganui in a foul odour.
Ms Main said the three-year delay will allow time to investigate how to reduce the unaffordable $9.7 million annual operating cost of a new plant.
The decision means raw sewage will continue to be discharged into the sea.