MELBOURNE, Australia—Residents living near Dandenong Creek in Melbourne’s East suspect chemical dumping is to blame after the creek spewed foam for three days.
First Friends of Dandenong Creek vice-president, Anthony Bigelow, said the pollution began on Saturday morning, May 19, before slowing on Monday, May 21.
The spill extended down the creek from more than five kilometres from Bayswater to Vermont, reported 7 News.
A witness told news.com.au that it smelled “caustic” and questioned whether it was a health concern, given the creek runs along a bike path and through parklands.
“It has a fairly caustic smell this stuff, so you really don’t want to come in contact with it,” the witness said.
“This is not a domestic incident. This is an industrial dump.”
Footage shared by community group First Friends of Dandenong Creek shows the foam polluting hundreds of metres of the creek.
Anthony Bigelow, First Friends of Dandenong Creek vice-president, said it is suspected there were three chemical dumps over the weekend; two originating from a stormwater drain at Bayswater Industrial Estate and the other from another connecting creek.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has called it a “significant pollution event” involving some kind of detergent and is investigating, reported the ABC.
This is a shocker. This #pollution event is either from a deliberate act or a complete disregard for the #environment and the community. Report what you know to assist @EPA_Victoria to hold polluters to account on 1300 EPA VIC. https://t.co/geX77Qyzwr
— Damian Wells (@WellsDamian) May 20, 2018
“The Dandenong catchment has a very complex drainage network,” said Damian Wells, spokesman for the EPA.
“There are several significant industrial zones in that area.
“What we’re looking to do, as best as possible, is to isolate the source of that pollution so we can hold the offenders to account.”
It is not the first time a pollution event like this has happened.
According to Charlie Miller, from First Friends of Dandenong Creek group, there had been “fairly regular” spills which always happen on weekends or public holidays when the Environment Protection Authority has limited staff.
“We report them on the weekend and the EPA does come out and does an inspection and sometimes takes some samples,” Mr. Miller told ABC.
“But 99 percent of the time the conclusion is source unknown.”
In a statement, the EPA advised the community and their pets to avoid contact with the creek until further notice.
EPA Spokesman Damian Wells has urged anyone with information to contact EPA Victoria on 1300 EPA VIC.
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