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 Victoria (EPA) 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.
The recovery efforts have been made more challenging by the dense cover of vegetation around the creek, unstable banks and exposure to contaminants, and we are being guided by the advice from contaminated land specialists.
So far we've removed more than 70 million litres of water and 170 cubic metres of contaminated material from the creek. We’re currently undertaking desilting works to remove at least another 500 cubic metres of contaminated sediment on a 600 metre section of the creek between the fire site and Paramount Road. This was the most heavily contaminated part of the creek as a result of the fire. These works started in late March 2019 and will take approximately 8-12 weeks to complete, weather permitting.
Contaminated sediment is being removed by excavators and temporarily stockpiled and contained at the fire site. It will then be treated for the safe disposal to a secure landfill under the direction of the EPA.
To prevent contaminants being washed downstream while these works are underway, creek flows are being diverted around the immediate area via an above-ground bypass pipe and pumping equipment.
Other recovery works to date have included:
Scraping the creek banks and pressure-washing rocks to remove contaminated material
- Removing affected trees, shrubs and other plants in the creek and along the banks
- Placing barriers in the creek to collect and remove contaminants
- Removal of large weed tree species within the creek corridor such as willows, poplars and desert ash to enable access for machinery to undertake the desilting works
We continue to undertake regular inspections to monitor conditions in the creek. While monitoring within the creek has shown improvement in some levels, EPA is continuing to advise the community to avoid all contact with water, keep pets away from the creek and not to consume fish from the area until consistently safe levels are reached. For more information and advice on public health, water quality monitoring and air quality monitoring visit EPA website.
We're 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. For more information on how you can help shape the rehabilitation plan, visit Stony Creek Rehabilitation.