'Don't eat': Warning as Victorian lake fills up with dead fish

Residents in Altona, in Melbourne's south-west, have been told to avoid the water following 'large numbers' of dead marine life washing up, believed to be a result of chemicals spilling into the waterway.

Chemicals leaked as a result of a factory fire in Laverton North last week are said to be the reason behind the water contamination that has seen countless fish killed.

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) recommends people avoid contact with waters Cherry Creek and Cherry Lake, a popular recreational and fishing spot in Altona.

Dead fish and eels have been washing up dead in Altona, in Melbourne's west.
Dead fish have been washing up dead in Altona. Source: Reddit

The pollution event affecting the waterways in Altona could take several weeks to clean up, according to the organisation.

"A large quantity of what appears to be a cleaning agent has spilled into the waterway resulting in a large number of fish deaths," a spokesperson from EPA Victoria told Yahoo News Australia.

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"Fish taken from the waterway should not be consumed and owners should restrict pets from eating any fish found on the banks of the creek or lake or the adjacent shoreline."

Environmental authorities believe about 12,000 to 13,000 litres of surfactant — a chemical found in detergent— was released into the waterways via stormwater drains after it leaked from a factory fire, the ABC reported.

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Public notices have been placed warning the community to avoid contact with the water and Melbourne Water is conducting a clean up operation.

The EPA said they're monitoring the situation and testing water conditions.

An investigation into the spill has commenced with updates being posted via social media.

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