Programs and initiatives

Investigating odour in Dandenong North


City of Greater Dandenong’s Officer for the Protection of the Local Environment (OPLE) has resolved a longstanding odour concern for residents in Dandenong North. 

Investigating odour in Dandenong North

“Council had received numerous reports in late-2017 and early-2018 regarding an extremely offensive odour in Dandenong North, including six reports in February and March alone. Residents were reporting a foul smell of sewerage that was invading their homes and causing extreme discomfort, including nausea,” the OPLE said. 

Residents had advised that the odour was intermittent, so council asked them to complete odour diaries in an effort to detect a pattern. 

The OPLE then investigated the surrounding area with a council environmental health officer and while they could confirm that the odour existed, they were unable to locate the source. 

“We examined the pattern of reports, considered wind conditions, and explored maps of the area by applying a drainage overlay to council’s geographic information system (GIS), but we couldn’t pinpoint where the smell was coming from”.

The OPLE then tapped into EPA’s GIS, which contains different information to the council system. 

“EPA’s GIS displayed a main sewer line running directly underneath the reporters’ neighbourhood. 

“Subsequent investigations revealed that Melbourne Water had decommissioned the sewer line but hadn’t capped the vent shaft. 

“During warmer months the sewer was venting intermittently and releasing the foul smell that was causing residents such discomfort”. 

Using EPA resources previously unavailable to council, the OPLE was able to locate the source of the odour and compile a body of evidence that convinced Melbourne Water that the open vent shaft was a significant problem they needed to address. 

Melbourne Water responded by capping the vent shaft in April 2018 and the City of Greater Dandenong has not received any further reports of similar odour in the area. 

Further information about preventing odour pollution can be found here.

Page last updated on 13 May 2019