Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) is advising residents of West Footscray, Kingsville and Yarraville that this week’s forecast for possible thunderstorms and heavy rain may raise odour levels around Stony Creek.
EPA Principal Expert Inland Waters Leon Metzeling said water quality in Stony Creek has improved during the extended dry period this year. However, the forecast rain may stir up sediment that still contains contaminants from the fire, and residents near Stony Creek may experience an increase in odour.
“Regular monitoring of sediment in the creek bed is showing fire contaminants are still present. The expected rainfall and resulting higher and more turbulent flows will stir up those sediments and carry them further along the creek, perhaps even all the way to Port Phillip Bay,” he said.
“The concentrations of the chemicals should be much lower, but these are chemicals are known to give off a considerable odour, even at low concentrations.”
EPA officers are conducting proactive water sampling during rain events this week, to assess the effects of the expected rain on the creek.
Work is underway to restore the creek by removing the worst of the contaminated sediments close to the fire site. In the long run, this will help to improve the quality of the creek and eventually eliminate the odours.
“While the effects this week may be undesirable, residents may take some comfort in the fact that any odour they experience now is a sign of contaminants gradually being washed from the creek bed,” Mr Metzeling said.
There has been no sign of contaminated runoff from the site since the fire and EPA officers continue to monitor the site to ensure existing controls are effective.
Warning signs are still in place along Stony Creek, and EPA’s ongoing advice is:
- Avoid contact with the water in Stony Creek
- Don’t walk along the edge of Stony Creek
- Don’t let pets swim in the area or drink the water
- As a precaution avoid eating fish from Stony Creek
- Seek medical help if you feel unwell