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Groundwater testing on the West Gate Tunnel Project

EPA has reviewed groundwater test results from the tunnel alignment and the surrounding area. The results show very low levels of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

The groundwater samples show contamination along the tunnel alignment. This is slightly elevated compared to background levels found in other populated areas of Victoria. The level of PFAS in the groundwater is slightly above drinking water standards, and below the accepted threshold for water that we can safely swim in. The level of PFAS contamination found in areas we know have been polluted by the past use of firefighting foams are several times higher than what we have found in the groundwater on the project.

Extensive groundwater testing confirms that we expect PFAS levels in the soil from the project to be at safe levels that would not impact the community or the environment with appropriate controls in place.

You can download the graph (publication 1876; PDF 299KB) that shows the test results.

A bar chart showing the test results of the groundwater testing along the alignment section of the West Gate Tunnel Project. The chart title is PFAS in groundwater along tunnel alignment.

Information about emerging contaminants in Victoria is in Emerging contaminants assessment 2019–20: Summary of results (publication 1879).

Noise from the West Gate Tunnel Project

Our Noise control guidelines (publication 1254) (the guidelines) outline what we expect of the project and their contractors during construction. The guidelines say people nearby shouldn’t be able to hear noise from the project: 

  • from 10 pm to 7 am from Monday to Sunday 
  • in any habitable room of residential premises. The Environment Protection Act 1970 defines the meaning of a habitable room.

This doesn’t apply if the works are unavoidable. Some works may need to happen outside of normal working hours. The project or their contractors should: 

  • notify people this noise will affect 
  • advise when the noise will occur and for how long. 

What unavoidable works are

The project may consider works that cannot be practicably and safely completed during normal business hours to be unavoidable. They include works that: 

  • involve continuous work, for example a concrete pour 
  • pose an unacceptable risk to life or property 
  • risk a major traffic hazard 
  • could cause a major disruption to the transport system. 

Sometimes, the project or their contractors can’t avoid noisy works. They must show they have made all reasonable efforts to limit the impact of noise on the local community.  

Air quality and dust from the West Gate Tunnel Project

Dust is a common air pollutant and is a potential environmental risk from the project.

Two State environment protection policies (SEPPs) protect Victoria’s air quality: 

The project is monitoring ambient air quality at six locations across the project. They are testing for particles (PM10 and PM2.5). The project is publishing results on their website

The project is also monitoring for dust at worksites within the project area. The monitors record dust that may be generated from the construction works.  

The Environmental guidelines for major construction sites (publication 480) provide information on how to reduce the impact of dust on residents.  

Read next

West Gate Tunnel Project

West Gate Tunnel Project: EPA’s role

West Gate Tunnel Project: Environment Management Plans

About PFAS

Reviewed 10 December 2020