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.
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.
About EPA’s role in reducing odour
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 is 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).
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.
Compliance and enforcementIn October 2022, EPA issued a further Improvement Notice which requires that Visy Paper:
- Provide designs for engineering modifications of four roof fans to improve their dispersion of odour by 30 January 2023.
- Modify two Hood Exhausts, which are the largest sources of odour emissions at the premises, to disperse odour more effectively by 28 February 2023
- Provide progress reporting on the works, including the results of odour surveys undertaken by an independent expert by 3 April 2023.
Visy Paper has also received an Official Warning and EPA fined the company for late compliance with notice conditions.
EPA officers will continue to undertake odour surveillance in the area around Visy regularly and meet monthly with the company and Darebin City Council to monitor progress of the odour works and Visy Paper’s existing controls, such as the biocide program.
Advice for the community
Community meeting sessions are held as part of the ongoing community engagement.
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
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
- 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.
- Members of the public can report odour to EPA.
- For more information about odour at the Visy Paper site in Reservoir, contact us or call us on 1300 372 842. We are here 24 hours.
Updates on the issue will be regularly shared via this site, please visit us again for more information.
We will provide on this page the latest information about actions undertaken to minimise odour from the Visy Paper site in Reservoir. We will also continue to provide information to the community and share this information with local environmental community groups and other agencies including Darebin City Council.
Reviewed 21 February 2023