Logos of each goal in the EMP, with the pathogens logo highlighted in a different colour.

The Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) monitors microbial water quality at 36 Port Phillip Bay beaches and 4 sites along the Yarra River. Yarra River monitoring is undertaken in partnership with Melbourne Water. This monitoring provides water quality information to the community to help them make informed decisions about swimming. EPA also uses monitoring data to assess long-term microbial water quality against the Environment Reference Standard (ERS). This assessment determines if locations meet long-term standards for secondary (for example, boating) and primary contact (for example, swimming). To make an assessment against ERS, the previous 5 years of data is used.

Photo of Melbourne in the distance taken from a boat in Port Phillip Bay.

Photo credit: Environment Protection Authority Victoria

Stormwater is water that runs off surfaces and into drains. As stormwater flows over surfaces, it picks up pollutants and carries them into our rivers, creeks, lakes, and bays.  Pollutants in runoff can include chemicals, such as fertilisers and pesticides from gardens, litter, oils and hydrocarbons from road surfaces, and pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria from leaking septic tanks.  Water quality can be impacted by rainfall and subsequent stormwater runoff. Stormwater pollution after rain is the biggest influence on microbial water quality. High microbial levels in stormwater pollution can increase the risk of illness during swimming.

Partner agencies and data contributors:

Melbourne Water logo

EPA Victoria logo

Page last updated: 17/04/24