The latest round of Maribyrnong River floodwater testing results shows that while contaminants of potential concern (CPOC) were generally below health guidelines, bacteria levels in the water fluctuated widely and recreational water quality is poor , especially after heavy rainfall events that wash more contaminants in to the river.  

EPA began monitoring the soil and water quality of the Maribyrnong River on 20 October, 2022 at Solomons Ford, Pipemakers Park and Footscray Rowing Club and has retested on several occasions.

“Bacteria levels subside quickly but our testing shows at some locations on the river, E.coli levels were many times above the guidelines, at least for a period of time,” said Professor Mark Taylor, Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) Chief Environmental Scientist.

“For example, E.coli results at Footscray Rowing Club on 2 November were 410, under the 550 Most Probable Number per 100 ml (MPN/100ml) guideline. But our tests on the 9 November, showed an increase to 1,600 MPN/100ml.

“Rains wash more contamination into the water which then subside, and we expect to see some wide variations.  So, our advice remains that all flood waters both during and after the event, need to be treated as though they are contaminated and to avoid contact wherever possible:

  • Do not swim
  • Do not boat or kayak
  • Do not eat fish from the river

Testing is ongoing. EPA will update the latest Maribyrnong River data as soon as results become available.


Reviewed 16 November 2022