Officers from EPA Victoria’s Southwest Region are making  unannounced compliance and enforcement inspections on dairy businesses across the Otways this week checking effluent is being properly managed.

Liquid waste and sewage from dairy farms can pollute rivers, creeks and other waterways through pipes or drains. It can also  run off through groundwater if spread inappropriately over fields. These pollutants can wash into waterways after rainfall. 

Pollutants can include nutrients from effluent, pesticides, fertilisers, milk from washdown, spillage and waste milk and soil washed into streams in rainfall run-off. 

These can be sources of ground and surface water pollution. If stock has access to waterways, they can also pollute the water and speed up erosion. 

Polluted waterways are a risk to people’s health, aquatic life and ground species that rely on waterways.

“We want businesses to understand their legal responsibility to act to protect the environment,” EPA Southwest Regional Manager Tanya McAteer said.

“The general environmental duty (GED) of the Environment Protection Act 2017 requires anyone contributing to water pollution to understand their risks, implement controls and regularly review performance of those controls so far as reasonably practicable.” 


Ms McAteer said the inspection program was part of EPA’s commitment to the Curdies River Coordinating Committee, working collaboratively with community, business, industry and government organisations to improve the health of the Curdies River and its tributaries.

Results from the inspection program will be shared with the Committee and the public.

Reviewed 16 November 2023