South East Water (SE Water) will be fined nearly $8,000 by Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) after sewage spilled from a faulty pipe joint to a roadside drain on the South Gippsland Highway at Tooradin.
SE Water was alerted to the spill by a member of the public on 10 October 2017, but it’s estimated that the spill could have started up to 28 days earlier. The spill flowed into the road reserve drain, and also impacted three surrounding properties.
EPA expects water corporations to be able to quickly identify failures in their networks to ensure sewer spills can be swiftly managed to minimise impacts on local communities and the environment.
Once aware of the spill, SE Water immediately contained it, repaired the pipe and undertook a clean up operation of the drains and affected properties, including the removal of approximately 1.3 million litres of water from the area. SE Water has also installed two new alarms on the pipeline as a result of the spill to identify any future potential leaks.
SE Water continues to work with landowners to remediate the affected land.
“Sampling from the roadside drain and affected properties showed high levels of E.Coli contamination. SE Water contained the spill as soon as they were aware of it to prevent it from entering local waterways and creating a significant public health and environmental issue,” said EPA Southern Metro Manager Marleen Mathias.
“SE Water has been acting to remediate affected land and will continue its work with the three affected landowners. EPA is monitoring the situation and the clean up, and a fine of $7,929 is appropriate.”