Melbourne Water and our partner agencies are committed to restoring and enhancing Stony Creek following the West Footscray warehouse fire on 30 August 2018.
We’re continuing to work closely with Maribyrnong City Council, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria, and other agencies to implement on-ground recovery works. Due to the nature and extent of contamination, the recovery efforts are highly complex, and our priority is to ensure the health and safety of our employees, the community and the environment at all times. Our works are being guided by advice from waterway and contaminated land specialists.
Surface desilting works to remove contaminated sediment between the fire site and Paramount Road were completed between March and July 2019. This was the most heavily contaminated part of the creek as a result of the fire. 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 off site for disposal to a secure landfill site nominated by EPA Victoria.
To prevent contaminants being washed downstream while these works were underway, creek flows were diverted around the immediate area via an above-ground bypass pipe and pumping equipment. Sediment control measures in the creek were also ramped up in preparation for any heavy rainfall events; more booms were installed in multiple locations, as well as rock weirs to slow down water flow.
EPA Victoria undertook air quality monitoring as well as water and sediment quality monitoring throughout the remediation works, and officers continued to carry out regular inspections of the fire site to ensure appropriate risk controls are in place. Results from testing and monitoring were regularly published on EPA’s website.
In conjunction with EPA Victoria, Melbourne Water continues to conduct assessments to understand the scope and extent of further remediation works along the five kilometre reach of Stony Creek between the fire site and the Stony Creek Backwash. Contaminated land and waterway specialists have been commissioned to assist with this task.
We anticipate that future remediation and desilting works will be conducted over the drier summer months when conditions for these types of works are more favorable.
In the meantime, we continue to undertake regular inspections to monitor conditions in the creek.
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
- Removal of 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 to develop 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:
For more information on the recovery stage, and to subscribe to weekly updates, visit:
For more information and advice on public health, water quality and air quality monitoring, visit :