Moorabool ratepayers forked out more than $40,000 last year to have illegally dumped asbestos cleaned up from roadsides.
Moorabool council was forced to hire contractors on eight occasions to have asbestos removed. It has identified Ingliston Road, between Ballan and Bacchus Marsh, as being a “major hotspot”.
Illegal dumping of rubbish has been an ongoing issue for the council, but there has been a significant spike in illegally dumped asbestos in the past two years.
Moorabool mayor David Edwards is calling on the community to help the council find the offenders.
He said the community had borne the “significant environmental and financial cost” of asbestos illegally dumped on roadsides.
“[This] is costing ratepayers large sums of money as council has to ring a special contractor to remove and correctly dispose of the asbestos.”
Environment Protection Authority’s Chris Webb said that in the past year, the watchdog received two reports of asbestos dumping in Moorabool.
Both reports were referred to Parks Victoria and the Moorabool council for clean-up. The culprits could not be identified.
Mr Webb said the EPA investigated more than 220 cases of illegal dumping across the state during the 2015-16 financial year, issuing 98 remedial notices. Of those, about 16 were for asbestos-related issues.
“Dumping asbestos waste is illegal, and disposal must only be at a site licensed by EPA to accept waste asbestos,” Mr Webb said.
“Asbestos must be removed, handled, transported and disposed of with care to minimise risk to the individual and the broader community. When disturbed, it produces a dust that may contain asbestos fibres.
“Fibres breathed into the lungs can cause a range of health problems, including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.”
Asbestos Diseases Research Institute’s Victoria Keena said Australia had one of the highest rates of malignant mesothelioma and exposure to asbestos was the only known cause.