Since April 2020, EPA received a large number of odour pollution reports from the Reservoir community. The reports alleged the odour was being discharged from the Visy Paper plant in Reservoir. EPA officers investigated and detected an offensive odour in the adjacent residential area and traced it back to the Visy Paper premises.
As Victoria’s environmental regulator, EPA’s role at the Visy Paper site is to:
- Check and enforce compliance with the Environment Protection Act 2017
- Ensure that Visy Paper are minimising the risks of harm to human health and the environment.
Any non-compliances and potential breaches of the law are considered against our Compliance and Enforcement Policy (Publication 1798).
The Visy Paper odour is likely to be a result of the presence of volatile fatty acids (VFA) and sulphides in the water used in the paper recycling process to separate the paper and cardboard material into strands of cellulose fibre.
Last year, EPA fined the company for non-compliance with the remedial notice.
In December 2021, following investigations into pollution reports and the inspection of works already undertaken at the premises, EPA issued Visy Paper with an Improvement Notice. Compliance with the Notice is due on 31 August 2022. This notice requires that Visy Paper:
- Modify a range of odour sources at the site, including roof vents, roof fans, pulper exhaust and process water;
- Provide designs for modifications of more complex odour sources; and
- Provide reporting that includes designs for controls to be installed and updates on progress towards completing the works required by the notice.
After the final requirement of the notice is due, EPA will assess the design documents provided and issue further notices to require the implementation of these measures. EPA continues to work closely with Darebin City Council to regulate Visy Paper and to monitor the progress.
Updates on the issue will be regularly shared via this site, please visit us again for more information.
For more details on Visy Paper updates and activities please visit their website.
Preventing and minimising any harm to the community from the site has been the most important focus of EPA’s regulation of this issue. We are seeking a long-term solution to community concerns about odour from the Visy Paper site. People may react to odours in different ways. How we sense odour varies from person to person.
If odour makes you feel unwell, you can:
- call NURSE ON CALL on 1300 60 60 24
- visit a doctor
- visit Head to Health online to find digital mental health resources from trusted service providers including
- speak to someone at the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) on 131 450 and ask them to call EPA Victoria on 1300 372 842
- contact us through the National Relay Service if you have a hearing or speech impairment.
Reviewed 13 April 2022