Industrial Thomastown landscape

Edgars Creek in Upper MerriIn its headwaters in the upper Merri catchment, Edgars Creek flows over a rocky basalt plain and through new residential areas in North Epping (photo at left).

In its middle reaches this important tributary of the Merri Creek flows through an industrial landscape in Thomastown (photo at right).

In 2010 Whittlesea City Council had the Centre for Aquatic Pollution Identification and Management (at Melbourne Uni) survey water quality in drains that lead to Edgars Creek in the industrial precinct.  There was a clear association between industrial estates and high pollutant loads including toxicants such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, silver and zinc.

Two actions resulted.  EPA Victoria undertook further investigations and Whittlesea City Council and Merri Creek Management Committee partnered to prioritise stormwater education in industrial areas through a new initiative, Waterway Friendly Workplaces. MCMC trained teams visited 22 small workplaces in the summer 2013 – 14 to discuss potential pollution pathways with small business owners and their employees. Actions to reduce pollution were high on the list.

Solvent extractor machineSome of these workplaces have adopted innovative practices to prevent pollutants from leaving their workplaces through stormwater drains (like the machine to extract solvent from paint - at right).  Local newspapers also publicised the project.