Lines attributable to Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) Western Metropolitan Regional Manager, Stephen Lansdell

Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has tracked down the source of a strong odour affecting Brooklyn and Altona residents, to an industrial site at Brooklyn, and has directed the company to fix the problem urgently.

Yesterday, a team of EPA officers inspected a list of industrial sites that were possible sources, while an odour specialist went to the Brooklyn residential area, confirmed and identified the type of odour and began tracking it back towards the point of origin.

The investigation began with multiple calls from the public, reporting what smelled like rotten egg gas.

Prompt reports from the public are vital in a case like this; EPA officers were able to use the callers’ addresses to map the area being affected, and the wind direction to help track down the source of the odour.

The problem with odour is always that the evidence can be taken away quickly by even a small breeze and the windy conditions over the past few days have made the source difficult to pinpoint.

There were more than 50 calls from the public in the Brooklyn/Altona area over two days, which gave our officers vital information that brought the investigation to a much faster conclusion.

We’d like to thank the residents of Brooklyn and Altona for reporting the issue and providing such critical information.  Community members are often our eyes, ears, and in this case our noses, to help us quickly track down pollution, prevent any impacts and hold industry to account.

The source was found to be at a major industrial site, Veolia, in McDonald Road, Brooklyn.  EPA officers found what we suspect to be a leak in the plant inside one of the buildings, releasing odour that escaped the building and was taken towards the residential area by the wind. 

We have informed the company of the leak and EPA officers are following up with an official notice today.  EPA is requiring the company to take action to contain the odour within the building, and then have a specialist investigator pinpoint the exact source inside the plant.

The company’s licence to operate includes responsibility for preventing any odour from leaving the premises, and EPA is investigating any possible sanctions for the duty holder breaching its licence.
 
Members of the public can report odour and all types of pollution to EPA’s 24 hour pollution hotline, on 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842), and we urge everyone to make their report as soon as possible. 

Reviewed 13 November 2020