Water used to bring under control a fire at SKM’s recycling plant in Coolaroo has impacted on local waterways and caused fish deaths at Jack Roper Reserve Lake.
Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) sampling of Merlynston Creek and Jack Roper Reserve Lake has found extremely low levels of dissolved oxygen that would not support aquatic life such as fish and insects.
In addition, high levels of E. coli have been found, which indicates the presence of microorganisms that may cause illness.
Hume City Council has put up signage advising members of the public and their pets to avoid waterways. The public should also avoid fishing and any other recreational activity at the lake or creek until further notice.
Fish have been reported dead at the southern end of the Jack Roper Reserve Lake near the Western Ring Road; there could be further fish deaths.
Melbourne Water officers have since removed 33 dead fish from the lake.
EPA officers have taken samples of the fish for analysis to determine the cause of death, which is thought to be the low levels of dissolved oxygen.
Significant efforts by EPA, local council and water corporations were made to prevent water from leaving the site of the fire, but unfortunately it was not possible to contain all of it.
Officers from EPA and Melbourne Water will continue to monitor water quality at the creek.
Contaminated water at the SKM site is now being put into the sewer system, and there are measures being put in place to minimise further runoff is impacting on local waterways.
EPA will also require SKM to develop an agreed approach to manage water onsite throughout the duration of the recovery and clean-up phase over the coming months.
Anyone concerned about their health should contact their local doctor or NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24.