EPA investigates “urine-like” smell

 

By David Schout

A Port Melbourne factory has been ordered to investigate a peculiar odour allegedly moving from its facility across into Docklands.

The Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has told building materials supplier USG Boral that if proven, it must prevent the discharge described by a NewQuay resident as “urine-like”.

The smell is alleged to be coming from the company’s Lorimer St plasterboard manufacturing facility, on the western side of the Bolte Bridge.

“The notice requires Boral to engage an independent assessment of whether any odour is leaving the site, and if so, to provide EPA with the company’s plan to prevent any odours impacting the community,” EPA Western Metropolitan Region Manager Stephen Lansdell said.

NewQuay resident Julian Smith has made multiple reports of the “nauseating industrial stench” since January 2019, and was pleased the issue was being addressed.

After making progress with the matter this year, he has spoken with an odour expert at the EPA and had others within his apartment tower share their concerns.

“Whenever I talk to anyone about it they would always say ‘yeah, it is a bit stinky around here sometimes’,” he said.

Mr Smith told Docklands News earlier this year he first noticed the strange smell when he first moved to the area in 2017.

He said it would infrequently “assail the senses” for about an hour at a time, and would sometimes wake him up during the night when he slept with his windows open.

While the smell was initially sporadic, its regularity had apparently increased.

“The incidents increased in intensity and regularity through 2019 so towards the end of the year I got fed up. I noticed a correlation between the smell and the appearance of a steam discharge from an industrial area beyond the Bolte Bridge to the right of the pillars from my vantage point.”

It is believed the EPA’s recommendations include increasing the height of the factory’s vertical exhaust and the speed of output, which would both disperse the odour further into the atmosphere and alleviate any potential odours.

A spokesperson for USG Boral said it would work with the EPA to investigate the alleged issue.

“USG Boral confirms that it has received a notice from EPA Victoria in relation to odours potentially emitted from its Port Melbourne plasterboard manufacturing facility,” the spokesperson said.

“USG Boral has not received any complaints of odours of the nature referred to in the notice. USG Boral is cooperating with EPA Victoria to identify and assess any such odours and their potential impact on residential areas, together with prevention plans as needed, in accordance with the requirements of the notice.”  

Odour problems can be difficult to confirm and trace to a source, and the EPA has encouraged anyone reporting odour is encouraged to report it as promptly as possible, with a description of the odour and an accurate location, to assist in investigating its source •

Members of the public can report pollution by calling the EPA 24-hour pollution hotline, on 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842).

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