EPA Victoria is actively involved in reducing pollution and environmental impacts from the Brooklyn Industrial Precinct. Brooklyn contains more than 60 industries including landfill, resource recovery recycling sites, abattoirs and tallow producers. We work with residents, industry and other key groups who influence Brooklyn’s response to pollution, such as local councils.
Our work consists of regulatory and enforcement responses to pollution reports, using evidence gathered over more than 10 years and a science-based approach to solving pollution problems. We’re refining our approach and using new technology such as low-cost sensors and drones to monitor and gather pollution evidence.
Odour and dust
We’ve been conducting detailed odour surveillance since 2008 and collecting data on small airborne particulate matter (which includes dust) since 2009.
Many industries in the Brooklyn Industrial Precinct generate various odours which result in numerous complaints to EPA. Animal pens, rendering and landfill form the majority of odour sources. In 2017, EPA received 754 odour reports, up significantly from 399 reports in 2016 and 173 reports in 2015.
EPA works hard to address the fact that air quality in Brooklyn does not meet Australia’s national air quality standards. The emission of PM10 (particulate matter under 10 micrometres in size) in Brooklyn exceeds standards set by the National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure (AAQ NEPM).
Roads were the major source of dust pollution in Brooklyn, according to research commissioned by EPA (Net Balance, 2011). EPA is addressing road cover by working proactively with key stakeholders with jurisdiction over public roads, which is outside of the Environment Protection Act 1970 that guides EPA’s work.
As a direct result of EPA’s work, the two major unsealed roads in the Brooklyn Industrial Precinct, Jones and Bunting Roads, have been sealed.
EPA’s air monitoring data is available via EPA AirWatch.
Responding to community pollution reports
In 2016, EPA observed an increase in pollution reports from, or near, Brooklyn. In response we recommenced an Odour Surveillance Campaign in the Brooklyn, Yarraville, West Footscray and Sunshine areas. This led to identification of emerging issues; and subsequent Pollution Abatement Notices being issued to a number of companies in the precinct.
In 2018, we’re focusing on a tactical response which involves EPA using weather modelling to pro-actively identify high-risk days for odour and dust. On high-risk days we are sending our Environment Protection Officers to be based locally to respond rapidly with inspections.
Using drones for inspections
EPA has a fleet of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS or drones), that enable us to visually inspect previously difficult-to-access areas safely, and to gather aerial footage and samples that can be used as evidence in investigations.
The RPAS can also identify and quantify parameters in-situ and are capable of sampling for fine dust and smoke particles in the atmosphere, including PM10 and PM2.5 The RPAS units are equipped with a range of sensors and cameras to detect various forms of pollution, including illegal dumping as well as air, land and water pollution.
EPA closely monitors several companies and is working with them to improve performance.