Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) continues to support Maribyrnong City Council in its role as the lead agency of the recovery efforts following the West Footscray factory fire.

EPA staff have been out in the community reminding residents to keep themselves and their pets away from Stony Creek, answering questions and providing information, which will continue into the coming weeks.

EPA CEO Dr Cathy Wilkinson said that EPA staff had spoken to more than 500 residents to date.

“We’ve also conducted letter box drops and we know the main concern from the community is when the creek and parks will be back to normal, and we’re working hard with Maribyrnong Council to determine this, but unfortunately it will take time,” Dr Wilkinson said.

“We know the odour from the creek is unpleasant and may be affecting some people so we’re encouraging people to limit their exposure.

“Some chemicals can produce a strong odour even at low concentrations and air quality samples taken from homes along Stony Creek found all results for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) were below health guidelines.”

Melbourne Water and EPA have put additional signage in the area to alert people to the potential hazard from the water along Stony Creek as well as using social media and through mainstream media.

A clean-up and recovery plan for Stony Creek and surrounding areas is in development between a number of key agencies.

EPA has also issued a number of notices on the owners of the West Footscray factory fire site.

The notices are an important part of the recovery phase of the incident and aim to secure the site and prevent any further contamination of Stony Creek.

The notices require the site owners to inspect the property daily to check on any materials stored there, install security fences, keep access ways clear, and ensure controls, including contingencies for rainfall, are in place so no run off can enter stormwater drains.

The owners will be required to regularly report their progress to the EPA.

If the notices are not complied with the owner could be fined more than $48,000 plus $8,000 for every day the works are overdue.

EPA has met with MFB, Maribyrnong Council and the site owner to discuss the handover and considers the health of the surrounding residents and environment its top priority.

Information is available at epa.vic.gov.au/WFFire and Maribyrnong.vic.gov.au/recovery

Reviewed 23 August 2019