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Peter Hopper Lake FAQs

Peter Hopper Lake at Redleap Reserve, Mill Park has been temporarily closed due to the poor water quality of the lake. See below for some frequently asked questions.

Peter Hopper Lake has been temporarily closed due to the poor water quality of the lake.

When it comes to bodies of water such as lakes, it is not uncommon to see water quality dip from time to time, particularly during the summer months when warm water temperatures, combined with low oxygen levels and high nutrient loads lead to algae blooms and bacterial infestations. Pollutants such as chemicals from garden fertilisers and pesticides that are washed into the lake through stormwater run-off from the surrounding areas, animal droppings and other debris such as mud and leaves also contribute to a decline in water quality.

Peter Hopper Lake is a large lake and requires substantial rainfall to be able to “refresh” itself frequently. When this doesn’t occur, the water can become stagnant, adding to issues of water quality.

Council has been working to restore the water quality at the lake by undertaking a number of different actions, including adding binding agents to help improve the water quality (the binding agents help remove excess phosphorus in the water) and installing four air dispersers to help oxygenate the water at it’s deepest and most stagnant locations.

We will also continue to apply a specialised treatment which is designed to increase the oxygen levels in the water.

Council is continuously monitoring the water temperature, pH and oxygen levels at the lake through water quality sensors that have been installed as well as through monthly water samples and adjusting actions based on changes observed.

In the new year, Council will also be installing a Gross Pollutant Trap at the lake’s inlet to help prevent further contaminants such as silt and litter from entering the lake. 

Rectifying water quality in a lake the size and age of Peter Hopper Lake is not a simple fix.

When the lake was constructed in the mid-70s the design standards were different to what they are today and as such, the lake does not contain the necessary functionality (such as appropriate litter screening and built-in vegetation to capture silt and absorb nutrients) to be able to effectively manage the water within the lake. This means that interventions and treatments, such as those Council have been undertaking, are required in the first instance.

While the methods we have used to date have had an impact on the water quality, it has not restored it back to an acceptable level.

The installation of the Gross Pollutant Trap will hopefully see an improvement in the lake, however we know that more may be required to ensure the long-term health of the lake.

While the temporary fencing around the lake has been removed, entry into the lake by pets is still prohibited. Please ensure you keep away from the water.

Council is committed to addressing both the causes and symptoms of the lake’s poor water quality to ensure that the lake can continue to be an asset to the local community for years to come.

Over the coming months, Council will engage specialist consultants to investigate a range of long-term options for the lake and we will be speaking with the local community to ensure that the proposals developed will meet the needs of the community while maintaining the functionality and rich ecosystem of the lake.

It is expected that we will be able to present the long-term options to the community for feedback mid-2022.

Council will be seeking feedback from the community in the coming months and will provide further details of how you can have your say at that time.

As you may have noticed, there is a large Ibis population residing on the island in the middle of Peter Hopper Lake. Council will work with the Department of Environment, Water, Land and Planning and other Councils in the region on a management plan for the birds to ensure the population remain healthy.

Visitors to the lake should:

  • Avoid contact with the lake water and keep dogs on a leash. No access into the lake is permitted.
  • Not handle birds or other wildlife
  • Not feed the birds as this can attract further wildlife to the site.

If you see any sick wildlife, please contact Wildlife Victoria on 8400 7300 or visit their website to lodge a request to have the animal attended to. Please do not handle the animal yourself.

If you see any dead animals in or near the lake, please contact Council on 9217 2170 to have the animal removed safely. Please do not handle the animal yourself.

You may be surprised to know that you can certainly make a difference to the quality of the lake by making some simple changes at home – particularly if you live within the “catchment” area of Peter Hopper Lake.

The catchment area refers to the large area of surrounding streets where water run-off – for example from rain or when you wash your car, flows into stormwater drains and then collectively ends up in the lake.

If you live in the catchment area of Peter Hopper Lake, these simple actions can make a big difference:

  • Avoid using lawn fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides on your garden
  • Wash your car on your lawn or at a carwash that reclaims the water
  • Avoid washing anything into the stormwater network including soapy water and grass clippings
  • Do not feed wild birds

You can also make a difference at the lake itself by making sure that you don’t leave any rubbish and food waste behind that could potentially end up in the water.

Getting involved in planting days or Clean Up Australia Day events is also a great way to do something that will improve your local area.