Update from Melbourne Water
Following heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding in Melbourne, rural and regional Victoria, Melbourne Water continues to prioritise its focus on:
- Continuing to work closely with the State Emergency Service (SES), Emergency Management Victoria (EMV), local communities and other relevant agencies to assess impacts to our waterways and provide timely information for upcoming weather warnings;
- Deploying crews in affected areas to assist flood recovery, remove debris and litter, assess erosion and inspect and urgently fix damaged drains;
- Managing our water supply catchments;
- Safely managing and treating sewage; and
- Monitoring Melbourne’s overall waterway health.
Controlled discharges from ETP to begin
With Victoria’s current flooding emergency Melbourne Water is advising residents in the southeast of Melbourne of a release of treated wastewater from the Eastern Treatment Plant, starting today for the next 10 days.
This process will not impact drinking water in any way, however, Carrum Beach and a section of Kananook Creek will be partially closed to the public, to avoid impact on human health.
This will not affect Melbourne’s drinking water supply and the sewerage system is still operational.
Melbourne Water Managing Director Nerina Di Lorenzo said Melbourne Water needed to take this step to avoid uncontrolled discharges from the plant because it was nearing capacity due to heavy rainfall over the past week.
“The discharge will relieve the plant’s capacity and help minimise uncontrolled discharges and flooding that could occur with further rainfall forecast,” Dr Di Lorenzo said.
“With more heavy rain expected over the next week, there’s a risk of overcapacity if these measures aren’t implemented, which could also lead to uncontrolled treated wastewater spills to local waterways.
“Public health and safety are our priority, and while the work of the Eastern Treatment Plant is essential to our sewerage system and our way of life in Melbourne, it’s important to note that these treated wastewater measures do not impact drinking water in any way.”
The treated wastewater will be released into Taylors Drain, which flows into Eel Race Drain and then to a small section of Kananook Creek and into Port Phillip Bay at Carrum Beach.
Dr Di Lorenzo said as per normal procedure, signage will be placed along walking trails beside any impacted waterways, as well as at Carrum Beach to advise people and their pets to avoid contact with the water.
“We’ve also directly notified the local community by distributing community bulletins and social media updates,” Dr Di Lorenzo said.
As part of its regular wastewater management, Melbourne Water is also currently discharging treated wastewater at Boag Rocks (Gunnamatta Beach) from the Eastern Treatment Plan. During this period, Boag Rocks (Gunnamatta Beach) and the local surrounding areas are not suitable for swimming, fishing or pets until the situation returns to normal.
Melbourne Water has notified and will work closely with the Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) during this discharge.
Melbourne Water will continue to keep the community informed.
Maribyrnong River Flooding Review
Melbourne Water has commenced work on establishing a review of the Maribyrnong River flooding event that occurred over the weekend of 15-16 October.
The review will:
- examine the causes and contributors to the flooding, including any impacts of the Flemington Racecourse Flood Wall in this catchment
- understand the impact of works or activities in the catchment on flood levels
- explore whether any other matters may have contributed
- provide a report to government on the review findings and recommended actions
Melbourne Water will finalise the details and move into data collection for the review.
Melbourne Water will draw on both its internal expertise and external advice and ensure there is suitable independent peer review.
Melbourne Water will also ensure there is an opportunity for affected members of the public and stakeholders to provide submissions to be considered as part of the review.
Findings and recommendations of the review will be submitted to Government. Melbourne Water is committed to an open and transparent approach with all stakeholders and the community.
Further details will be shared in the coming weeks.
Advice and Emergency Information
With more rain forecast over the weekend and into next week, Dr Di Lorenzo urged the community to be vigilant and take care
“Floodwaters can be fast moving and very dangerous. We urge people to avoid flooded areas for their own safety. Please don’t attempt to drive, ride or walk through floodwaters,” she said.
“We strongly advise the community to not go out looking at dams or flooded waterways during this time for your own safety and please keep roads surrounding affected waterways clear for emergency vehicles where possible.”
Dr Di Lorenzo said there were several ways to keep up-to-date with the latest information including:
- The Vic Emergency Hotline on 1800 226 226;
- the Vic Emergency website and app; and
- Melbourne Water’s live river level flow and rainfall information webpage
For flood or storm emergency assistance, contact the VIC SES on 132 500 and for life threatening emergencies call 000.
If you would like to report any impacts to your local waterways or Melbourne Water assets in your area, please contact 131 722
If you are directly impacted by the floods, you may be able to access emergency relief assistance payments through the Victorian Government.
From providing clean drinking water, treating sewage so we can recover and re-use our valued resources, planning to manage flooding and keeping all 25,000 kms of Melbourne’s rivers, creeks and catchments healthy, Melbourne Water has an essential role in managing all parts of the water cycle that are essential to our way of life, today, tomorrow and for the generations to come.