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The Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has fined the company operating Melbourne Airport nearly $8000, over a spill in October 2017 that sent thousands of litres of sewage into a nearby creek.

EPA Metro Region Manager, Jeremy Settle, said EPA officers attended Melbourne Airport after Australia Pacific Airports (Melbourne) reported a sewage spill from pipes in the basement of the Terminal 4 car park had entered a stormwater drain and discharged into Arundel Creek at Keilor.

“The officers inspected the creek and observed that the water was a cloudy brown colour and had a smell of sewage, so they took samples above and below the entry point,” Mr Settle said.

The airport company estimated that approximately 35,000 litres of sewage had entered the stormwater drain due to a poorly relined section of pipe that caused sewage to back up and overflow from a manhole.

“EPA’s samples showed significantly higher levels of E coli bacteria, which would represent a potential health hazard,” Mr Settle said.

Direct contact with sewage is a threat to human health and a significant amenity issue, with a pungent smell and the need to avoid contact with affected water.

“Fortunately, that section of Arundel Creek runs through private land, so it was unlikely any member of the public would come into contact with the contaminated water, before it was diluted as it entered the Maribyrnong River further downstream,” Mr Settle said.

“The company instigated a clean-up, removing approximately 180,000 litres of liquid from the stormwater drain.”

EPA has fined the company $7929 over the incident. 

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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