Odour management

Call us to report an odour

Call 131 722 (24 hours, 7 days a week)*

*Please do not report odour online to help us quickly respond and investigate. 

In Melbourne, a safe, clean and healthy environment is essential to our way of life.

Through managing a variety of assets from water supply reservoirs, sewerage systems, treatment plants and waterways we ensure the health of our environment, our communities and our families. But our city is always changing with more and more people wanting to call Melbourne home.   

That’s why we manage odour impacts by implementing controls, monitoring programs and plan for innovations to avoid and minimise this impact. 

About odour

Learn more about odour and what we do to minimise impact to the community.

Odour is a key environmental issue set out in the Environment Protection Act 2017 (the Act).

Graphic image represnting odour with circles and curved vertical lines

That’s why we have a comprehensive odour monitoring program and why we are always looking for new ways to avoid and minimise this impact in our operations and projects.

Although the incidence of odour complaints have declined significantly over time, we acknowledge that our assets can cause odour impacts to the community from time to time at the following locations: 

  • Western Treatment Plant 
  • Eastern Treatment Plant 
  • Sewerage transfer system – including vents along the sewer lines and Air Treatment Facilities  
  • Sewerage network project works 
  • Capital projects 
  • Waterways and waterbodies e.g. following de-silting activities, flooding or pollution events 

What we are doing to manage odour

Every day, there are multiple projects underway to improve the way we treat and manage odour. You may experience odour from time to time from our assets, and we know this can be unpleasant.  

Odour monitor

That’s why we ensure our local community is not regularly affected by odour and have a range of measures in place, which include: 

  • regular odour monitoring program - both offsite and onsite 
  • various controls such as odour treatment facilities that treat or minimise odorous emissions 
  • timing of certain operations to coincide with wind conditions that will minimise odour air quality testing will be undertaken regularly to ensure we are meeting all EPA air quality standards 
  • carbon filters attached to venting maintenance holes while we are completing works 
  • timely response to flooding or pollution events, including clean-up where practicable 

We take a proactive approach and when capital works are happening near you, we will let you know it is best to keep all windows and doors shut to help reduce the odour coming into your home or workplace.  

We follow EPA guidance for assessing odour. 

How to report odour 

If you experience odour from a Melbourne Water asset or location that affects you, you can report it to us by calling 13 17 22.  

Please do not submit odour reports online. 

What we need from you

Please call us at the time of smelling the odour. Please do not log odour reports online, as there may be a delay in Melbourne Water staff investigating. 

When you report odour, provide the following information: 

  • location 
  • how long you have smelt it 
  • wind direction (if you know this)  
  • odour characteristics.

Learn more about describing what odour smells like on EPA Victoria's website.

In general, we know that odour from Melbourne Water’s sewage treatment sites will often have a rotting/putrid smell.  

If you feel like the odour is affecting you, please reach out to your medical practitioner for advice.

You can learn more about odour pollution on the EPA website (epa.vic.gov.au).

What happens next? 

If Melbourne Water operations are confirmed as the odour source of your odour complaint, we will: 

  • Keep you informed and address any issues at the location that may be causing this.
  • Notify our environmental regulator, EPA Victoria, of any confirmed odour complaints that are verified as being a Melbourne Water odour source within 24 hours 

If the odour is not from Melbourne Water we will point you in the right direction to follow up your issue e.g. Council or EPA .

It can be difficult to trace the odour if you don’t call at the time of smelling the odour. There also may be multiple sources of the odour for example raw materials or during processing.    

Response times

We aim to get back to you within the following timeframes:

Enquiry type Response time
Phone 1 business day.

10 business days.

We will acknowledge your complaints within one business day and aim to resolve your complaint within 10 business days. If it takes longer, we’ll update you on our progress.

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