Melbourne Water has announced a program aimed at preventing stormwater pollution in the Dandenong Creek region after testing revealed high levels of metal contaminants from stormwater drains.
The program will help local businesses understand how their activities may be contributing to stormwater pollution in the local Bayswater industrial area.
The industrial pollutants flow from the stormwater drains into Dandenong Creek, and can damage both the creek, and make beaches further downstream unsafe for fishing and swimming.
Monash Sustainability Institute and the Centre for Aquatic Pollution Identification and Management (CAPIM) are working with Melbourne Water to identify issues around pollution in the Dandenong Creek area, and design an engagement program for local businesses.
Melbourne Water Project Manager, Jane La Nauze, said the aim of the program was to identify quick and easy ways to stop pollution entering stormwater drains so businesses could understand how they may be contributing to the problem.
“Everyday business activities around stormwater drains are a bigger contributing factor to waterway pollution than major spills,” said Ms La Nauze.
“This is why Melbourne Water will be offering free and anonymous pollution prevention assessments to eligible businesses in the area.
“The program isn’t about trying to catch people out, it’s about recognising that there is a problem, and working together to fix it so we can minimise the impacts on our waterways, and the plants and animals that live there,” said Ms La Nauze.
The Victorian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is aware of industrial pollution and will be conducting random inspections in the local area with the potential of financial penalties.
CAPIM will monitor Dandenong Creek’s pollution levels after the initiative to see if there is a reduction in the stormwater pollution. If the results are positive, the research findings will assist Melbourne Water’s stormwater pollution prevention programs.