Water quality and pollution

As widely acknowledged, the ecological and social values of the Yarra are dependent on it being pollution-free. Pollution can make its way into the river through multiple sources and in varying forms, including:

  • litter and solid waste (so-called gross pollution) which has either been dropped or spilt in the catchment,
  • disease-causing bacteria, coming mainly from leaking/overflowing sewage systems but also contaminated stormwater, and organic waste,
  • sediments contained in stormwater and runoff from cleared land, construction sites and dirt roads,
  • nutrients coming mainly from sewage treatment plant effluent, cleared land, parks and gardens,
  • other damaging chemicals (eg hydrocarbons, heavy metals and pesticides) coming mainly from stormwater run-off in urban streets and agricultural land. Heavy metals are also present in the river sediments and a legacy of past practices.
Our vision:

The Yarra’s water can support all its naturally occurring aquatic life forms and is free of all pollutants that may be harmful to them or humans.

We believe that:
  • Whilst many measures are being implemented to reduce pollution, both at its source and in its transport to the river, pollution is still unacceptable.
  • To stop pollution, all stormwater run-off and all used water (“waste water”) has all toxins and excess nutrients removed and is reused or infiltrated into the ground, such that none flows directly into the Yarra River.