Melbourne Water and our partner agencies have been busy restoring and enhancing Stony Creek over the last 18 months, following the West Footscray warehouse fire on 30 August 2018.
We have been carrying out on-ground recovery works, working closely with Maribyrnong City Council, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria and other agencies. The nature and extent of contamination meant these recovery efforts were highly complex, with priority given to the health and safety of our employees, the community and the environment at all times.
We have now completed all desilt works downstream of Paramount Road, and will restart the routine scheduled maintenance for Stony Creek. This was put on hold while we focused on restoration efforts.
Our recovery efforts
Between March and July 2019, we removed contaminated sediment between the fire site and Paramount Road – the most heavily contaminated part of the creek.
Approximately 2,500 cubic metres of sediment (equivalent to an Olympic-size swimming pool) was removed by excavators, temporarily stockpiled and contained at the fire site. It was then processed and treated, before being safely transported for disposal at a secure landfill site nominated by EPA Victoria.
EPA Victoria monitored the quality of air, water and sediment throughout the remediation works, and officers continued to carry out regular inspections of the fire site to ensure appropriate risk controls were in place. The results from testing and monitoring were regularly published on EPA’s website.
Other recovery works since the fire incident have included:
- Pumping 70 million litres of polluted water from the creek and removing 170 cubic metres of contaminated sediment immediately after the fire
- Scraping the creek banks and pressure-washing rocks to remove toxic sludge
- Removing affected trees, shrubs and other plants throughout the creek corridor
- Placing barriers in the creek to collect floating contaminants for removal by suction trucks
- Removing large weed tree species within the creek corridor such as Willows, Poplars and Desert Ash, to enable access for excavators and other large machinery
Since February 2019, we've been working with the local community and our partner agencies on a plan to support the long-term rehabilitation of Stony Creek, making sure it aligns with community values, aspirations and expectations. The final plan was launched on 8 September. To read a copy of the plan and to find out how the community helped shape its development, visit our Stony Creek Rehabilitation Your Say page.
As part of the Stony Creek Rehabilitation Plan we are undertaking weed control and revegetation works along the creek at Cruickshank Park, Yarraville and in West Footscray. These works will contribute to creating a continuous corridor of vegetation along Stony Creek, providing habitat for wildlife and improving amenity for the community.
Planting works will commence in June and are expected to take two to three weeks.
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