Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has found no visual impacts on water quality between Williamstown and Brighton during daily monitoring, though samples have been sent for analysis.

EPA and Parks Victoria officers today conducted a transect of sampling across the bay in the wake of the West Footscray factory fire as part of the ongoing water and air monitoring program.

EPA will explain the latest water and air quality results and answer questions at a community meeting on Thursday, alongside other agencies involved in the incident and clean up.


Thursday, September 6

Footscray Town Hall, 61 Napier St

6.30pm start

Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) Chief Environmental Scientist Dr Andrea Hinwood said the run off from water used to fight the fire and chemicals stored in the factory had been detrimental to the local environment.

“The combination of chemicals in the water has depleted the oxygen levels in the creek and is toxic to aquatic life,” she said.

“We are still encouraging people to avoid contact with the water and to stop their dogs swimming in the creek or eating dead fish.

“We are also advising people not to fish 5km up and downstream from the Stony Creek discharge point into the Yarra River, including the Warmies.

“The good news is after four days of monitoring the northern beaches of Port Phillip Bay, we’ve seen no signs that water quality has been affected.

“Dead fish that have washed up in Port Phillip Bay have likely been moved from the creek backwash by wind and currents.”

Dr Hinwood said measures had been in place to contain the fire water at the West Footscray factory site but due to the sheer volumes of water used – as much as 16,000 litres a minute at some points – run off had occurred.

“The contaminated water is still being removed from the creek and with time, the creek will recover,” she said.

“EPA will continue to work with Melbourne Water and Maribyrnong Council to monitor the creek and the clean up.”

Dr Hinwood said there were still reports of solvent-style odours from the creek.

“While not always indicative of harmful substances, odour can cause irritation to people who are particularly sensitive,” she said.

“As a precautionary measure, we’re suggesting people avoid exposure.”

Reviewed 23 August 2019