Watsons Creek is a known breeding location for the endangered dwarf galaxias fish.  

South East Water has given Watsons Creek in Baxter-Langwarrin South a new lease on life thanks to a rehabilitation project following a sewer spill in 2019. 

Watsons Creek is a known breeding location for the endangered dwarf galaxias fish. 

In consultation with Melbourne Water and the Environment Protection Authority, South East Water engaged an aquatic ecologist to help crews manage the site to minimise long-term ecological impacts. They flushed the creek for a couple of weeks with non-chlorinated water and monitored water quality for almost a month after the event to ensure that the health of the waterway had returned to normal. 

South East Water then partnered with Melbourne Water and consultants Aquatica and Naturelinks to deliver some great improvements to the area and its fish habitat . 

  • Weed control and plant revegetation for restoration and rehabilitation of the fish habitat.
  • Ongoing surveys to monitor the fish population and health which is now back to normal.
  • Once-off translocation to move the fish back upstream to an area that the spill impacted.

In addition, South East Water worked closely with Mornington Peninsula Shire Council offering septic tank pump outs to several properties in the area to improve the creek’s overall water quality. While this wasn’t connected to the spill, South East Water took a more holistic approach to support the overall improvement of the creek. 

South East Water Service Delivery General Manager Simon Willis said it was important for the organisation to restore the environment where there was a spill. 

"For Watsons Creek we've taken this restoration to the next level by undertaking activities to improve the overall health of the creek, even beyond the spill area.

We saw fantastic results in a six-month follow-up survey of the Dwarf Galaxias. There are no lasting impacts from the spill and no evident impact to the strong breeding populations further downstream. 
 -  Simon Willis, General Manager Service Delivery

Sewer spills to the environment can happen when there’s a blockage in a sewer pipe due to unsuitable materials or substances going down the drain. With Watsons Creek, thirsty tree roots nearby were looking for water and crept into the pipes causing the spill. 

To help avoid blockages and subsequent spills, South East Water customers can:

  • only flush the three Ps; pee, poo and (toilet) paper
  • avoid putting food scraps, fats and oils down the sink 
  • find out where the pipes are on your property before planting trees, and
  •  avoid planting close to them – call South East Water on 13 16 94 to purchase a property sewerage plan
  • speak with your local nursery for advice on which plants to avoid planting near pipes.  

For more information on how to protect the sewer pipes, visit southeastwater.com.au/pipes

South East Water has a number of initiatives in place to prevent  blockages  and is increasingly using technology to monitor its sewer system in real-time.

Customers can still report any faults or issues they may see near their home on 13 28 12, 24 hours a day, 7 days week.  

For further information or enquiries, contact our media team: 

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