Something stinks in Liverpool, N.S., and people want to know what it is.

An unpleasant odour has been wafting over the town for the past few weeks, and it’s strong enough that some worry the smell is chasing tourists away.

“Smells like rotten eggs,” said Liverpudlian John Townsend.

“I'm from the Annapolis Valley, so I know barnyard smells and so on,” said Ivan Higgins, who owns Cosby’s Garden Centre on the outskirts of town. “And it's just not a nice smell.”

District 4 Coun. Susan MacLeod says the smell is “unreal.”

“It almost makes you want to vomit,” MacLeod said. “It's something that's really quite strong.”

It’s a little like sulfur, and the smell comes and goes as the wind shifts off the water of the Mersey River and Liverpool Bay.

Part of the issue may be wetlands near the coast.

“Some of it is likely natural,” said David Dagley, the mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality.

Down the road from the wetlands is the wastewater treatment plant.

The mayor says it's not clear what the exact cause is yet, but the municipality has already taken some preventative measures.

“We have removed through a skimming process any oils that may be on the tops of our lagoons, because you pick up oils and you pick up fats through cooking and households, and of course that goes down the sink which ends up in our facility,” Dagley said.

Others disagree that it's natural.

MacLeod called a special council meeting Monday night to discuss the issue.

She says the first priority is to nail down the cause.

“This is not a natural smell,” MacLeod said. “It is completely different than anyone has ever experienced before.”

MacLeod worries that the smell could drive tourists away.

In this small area, that's a big industry over the summer.

Some say it's already happening.

“He said, ‘What's that stench?’” Townsend said. “And I said, ‘Well, they say it’s this and they say it's that. I really don’t know.’ And he said, ‘How far is it to Bridgewater?’”

The council meeting Monday night was open to the public.

The mayor says the town will look to expert opinion, as well as other regions, like Kentville and New Minas, which have dealt with similar issues.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Emily Baron Cadloff.