Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) is investigating an oily substance that is visible in a drain that runs under and alongside the popular O’Keefe Rail Trail near the Bendigo suburb of Junortoun.
EPA North West Field Team Leader Danny Childs said EPA had attended the site in response to a call from a member of the public to its pollution hotline.
“EPA officers found an oily substance that looked to have come from bitumen spraying / road resurfacing works that had entered a stormwater drain that runs near the rail trail,” Mr Childs said.
“The discharge has visibly stained the earthen stormwater drain for about 150 metres.”
Mr Childs said the cause of the spill had now been identified and the polluter would be issued with a remedial notice.
“The notice will require the company that caused the spill to modify its operations to prevent any further discharges from occurring. The company must also clean up the area impacted by the spill,” Mr Childs said.
Mr Childs said that while the clean-up works was occurring it would be a good idea for the public to avoid the area.
“Works are also underway to have the area appropriately sectioned off and signs put up to advise the local community to steer clear of the area if possible,” Mr Childs said.
Mr Childs said that EPA's investigation into the incident is still ongoing, and if any breaches of the Environment Protection Act 1970 are found to have occurred, the company could face sanctions under EPA's Compliance and Enforcement Policy.
EPA urges members of the public to report suspected pollution to EPA on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) or at www.epa.vic.gov.au