Dandenong Creek

Using a multiple-lines-of-evidence approach, CAPIM identified the sources of pollution impacting aquatic fauna and made recommendations resulting in improved economic and environmental outcomes.

Sediment sampling in Bungalook Creek, one of Dandenong Creek’s main tributaries.
Dr Kathryn Hassell, Dr Claudette Kellar and Dr Jackie Myers sampling fish at Liverpool Road
Retarding Basin.

Dandenong Creek

What was the problem?

Melbourne Water identified that an Emergency Relief Structure (ERS) within Dandenong Creek did not comply with EPA policy on wet weather sewage spills. CAPIM conducted a study to investigate the potential effects of episodic sewage spills via an ERS on resident aquatic fauna and also aimed to separate these effects from other sources of pollutants present within the catchment.

How did CAPIM address it?

Using a multiple lines of evidence approach, CAPIM were able to effectively identify sources of pollution that were impacting on the aquatic fauna, showcasing a number of novel biomonitoring tools that are appropriate for urban management. The study indicated that chronic pollution from industrial and potentially unsewered areas were having a significant impact on the ecological health of Dandenong Creek and associated waterways, while intermittent sewer spills were likely to be much less of a problem.

What was the outcome?

As a result of the work, Melbourne Water invested five years of funding into ‘Enhancing Our Dandenong Creek’, an outcome-focused program. The adopted approach will result in a better environmental and financial outcome than simply building a “big sewer”. The program’s activities includes projects on pollution prevention, natural amenity, biodiversity and threatened species habitat and uncontrolled spills.

For more information on this study, please contact Dr Claudette Kellar ckellar@unimelb.edu.au.