A New Zealander who invented a composting lavatory which relies on worms to do its dirty work was told the creatures might be left down in the dumps by their role.
Coll Bell was ordered by Auckland Regional Council to commission an expert to assess the psychological impact on the tiger worms.
The "wormorator" is an alternative to septic tanks
A council official told him: "You have to have someone with the qualifications to say the worms are happy," he told the Sunday Star Times.
The official felt the worms could be left traumatised, given that their sole task in life was to process human faeces.
"[She] felt that it could affect them in a psychological way," Mr Bell told the newspaper.
"I said, 'Well, what do I do about that?' and she said, 'You have to have someone with the necessary qualifications to say the worms are happy'."
His "wormorator", an alternative to septic tanks, was only approved after a vermiculture expert reported the worms were in excellent health and breeding happily.
In Mr Bell's invention, the long-suffering worms filter solids from toilet waste, with the leftover water being filtered into underground trenches.
A council spokeswoman said concern for the worms' welfare was justified because the system was going to be used at a campground where sewage flowed heavily for two weeks each year but dried up the rest of the time - meaning the worms might be left short of nourishment.
Toilet worms may be down in the dumps
In other news, 40% of Japanese men sit down to pee, survey shows.