Dust, Smoke, Fumes and Odour Nuisance 

Council and EPA Victoria investigate environmental nuisance and air pollutants, including dust, odour, smoke and fumes from residential, commercial and industrial areas which can impact people's health.

Quick links:

Odours

Odour complaints are more frequent in summer when people are outdoors and windows are open. Odour can come from numerous sources, including sewage overflow, compost heaps, fertilisers, industrial premises and chemical odours associated with spray drift.

Sewage

Slow-draining sinks, toilets or showers, or a sewage overflow that occurs in dry weather could be a sign of a blockage in the waste water or sewage pipes on your property. If there is a sewage leak on your property due to damaged or broken pipe, call a licensed plumber immediately.

If you locate a sewage smell and any indication of a sewage overflow or blockage outside your property, Contact Yarra Valley Water on 13 2762 to report  More information can be found on the Yarra Valley Water website 

Avoid contact with raw sewage as this can cause serious health issues.

Pets and Livestock

Where the odour relates to the keeping of pets or livestock such as chickens, contact Council and ask for the Council's Compliance Department.

Industrial Odours

If the odour relates to an industrial premises, you can contact the EPA 24-hour pollution hotline on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) or via the EPA Website 

Reducing Odours from Your Property

Tips to reduce odour include:

  • Keep your property tidy and don't allow vegetation or rubbish to accumulate
  • Recycle organic waste and garden clippings
  • Minimise rubbish by composting and mulching
  • Where possible, enclose or cover compost bins or vegetation. To help reduce odours regularly turn and aerate compost
  • Avoid planting near all pipes and underground amenity lines on your property
  • Invest in a root barrier when planting and seek advice from a nursery regarding plants with non-invasive roots
  • Consider weather conditions before starting work that will create odour. When applying fertilisers, try to avoid windy days. Also avoid wet days as run-off to storm water drains is harmful to our creeks and rivers.

Dust, Smoke and Fumes

Industrial premises can emit a range of dust, smoke, fumes and odours. 

You may notice dust, smoke, fumes or emissions on a neighbouring property. Please speak to the owner of the property about your observations. You can direct them to this page for information.

The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and Council manage complaints depending on the type of industrial business. 

Industrial Premises - Heavy

Heavy Industrial Businesses include businesses such as cement works, quarries, factories, nurseries and hospitals. Smoke or odours complaints relating to these businesses are managed by the EPA. 

Contact the EPA 24-hour pollution hotline on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) or via the EPA website 

Industrial Premises - Light

Light Industrial Premises include businesses such as motor garages and bodyworks, small businesses and building construction sites.  

Contact the local council for complaints or notifications regarding smoke or odours from smaller industrial premises or businesses.

Council investigates including unresolved issues on neighbouring property please contact Customer Service or phone 9262 6333. 

Council may require you to complete a diary record ( DOCX 19.32KB) to undertake the investigation.

Burning Off

To help promote a cleaner environment in our municipality, residents are reminded that the lighting of fires in the open or incinerators is prohibited in accordance with the Whitehorse Community Local Law 2014 ( PDF 202.61KB) except for fires lit:

  • By a member of the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade or other authorised authority in the course of their duties
  • For the purpose of cooking food for human consumption
  • In a free-standing fire place that has been purchased for the sole purpose of outdoor heating which does not create excessive smoke and/or smell.

Please contact Council if you would like to report any burning off.

Wood Heaters

Well operated wood heaters can provide an efficient way to heat your home and should produce heat without smoke. However, wood heaters and open fire places that are not operated well can add to outdoor air pollution and cause problems for your neighbours.

Wood heaters are not prohibited. Even with the correct operation of a wood heater there will be some smoke that may be within acceptable levels.

Wood smoke contains many different chemicals, some of which are toxic to humans and when breathed in and can cause physical discomfort and health problems for people with respiratory illnesses, including children and the elderly.

A Neighbour's Wood Heater is Affecting You

You may feel anxious about approaching your neighbour, but remember that they are sometimes not aware they are affecting you.

If you are concerned with smoke coming from a neighbour's wood heater, please contact Council.

You will be sent a nuisance log and asked to fill it in and send it back to Council. When the nuisance log is received Council officers will investigate the situation and ring you to discuss the issue further.

Each case is dealt with individually but penalties may apply if a nuisance is found to exist and is not stopped. However, if Council cannot resolve the matter you may be referred to the Dispute Settlement Centre which provides a free mediation service resolving neighbourhood disputes.

The Selection, Installation and Maintenance of Wood Heaters

Appropriate selection, installation and maintenance of your wood heater is an important health and safety issue for you and your family. Visit the Environment Protection Authority to learn more.