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The Yarra River will be polluted with stormwater containing potentially toxic chemicals running off the $16 billion North East Link unless action is taken, a respected water expert has warned.
Chris Chesterfield, who is the chair of the Birrung Council which was appointed by the Andrews government in 2018 to advocate for the Yarra, says the river will be polluted with significant volumes of stormwater if water treatment is not installed along the widened Eastern Freeway.
He says the construction of freeways in Melbourne has been a "disaster" for the Yarra's health and the North East Link must mark a turning point in protecting the city's rivers and creeks.
The Yarra River is at risk of being polluted with huge volumes of stormwater runoff from the North East Link.CREDIT:CRAIG ABRAHAM
The expansion of the Eastern Freeway to more than 20 lanes at its widest point will "obviously create additional stormwater runoff" into Koonung Creek, which runs adjacent to the freeway and flows into the Yarra, Mr Chesterfield warned.
The North East Link project does not yet have a treatment plan for stormwater runoff.
"The council believes that such a low bar is totally unacceptable for what is probably by far the biggest infrastructure project within the Greater Yarra Urban Parkland and Yarra River lands in a generation," Mr Chesterfield wrote in his submission to the project's environmental effects hearings.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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