Pilot program lands dust problem

Large dust particles were found at a market garden in Pearcedale.

A deluge of dust from a market garden in Pearcedale has been dampened after the Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) received complaints from residents.

Casey’s Officers for the Protection of the Local Environment (OPLE) began investigating the market garden after 13 residents reported to the council that high levels of dust were infiltrating their homes.

OPLE officer Will Mosley said he found large dust particles that required remedial action and issued a Pollution Abatement Notice.

“Residents reported they were having to spending thousands of dollars on cleaning because of the dust,” he said.

“It was affecting the residents’ liveability but the council didn’t have the necessary regulatory power or compliance measures to address it – which is where EPA could assist.”

Mr Mosley said the notice required the owners to take short-term measures to address the dust and provide a plan of how they would stop it occurring in the long term.

“The interim solution they took was to put on a cover crop to knit the surface soil together and stop it blowing away but being a cyclical farm, they can’t have the cover crop on forever, so their Environmental Management Plan has been developed to minimise the time the site is left cleared.”

The Pollution Abatement Notice was complied with in July and revoked.

“This was a long-standing issue for residents, so it was great the OPLE program could get an outcome for them and we’ll continue to monitor the garden to ensure the dust plan is upheld,” Mr Mosley said.

Casey Council is one of 13 council’s that are part of a pilot program with EPA which will run until 31 July 2019.

Will Mosley and Amy Phillips share the role as Casey’s Officers for OPLE and work to address low-level environmental issues, such as odour, waste dumping and stockpiling, stormwater contamination, littering, noise and dust.

“The OPLE program is about working with and educating businesses and industry about their environmental obligations and helping to drive sustainable change,” Mr Mosley said.

“Anyone concerned about pollution should report it to the EPA’s 24-hour hotline 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842).”


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