In less than an hour in Bunting Road on the Brooklyn industrial estate, two business sites have been detected causing dust pollution.
During an inspection with the Environment Protection Authority last week, Star Weekly watched as officers were dispatched to one of the premises.
It comes as the owners of a Brooklyn industrial site are fined more than $8000 for dust pollution after a nearby monitoring station detected falling air quality.
EPA metro region manager Daniel Hunt said the fine was for failing to comply with an order to stop mud and dust going outside their boundary.
Residents live just 400 metres from the 10-hectare industrial precinct, which has about 60 businesses.
“We’ve issued 52 notices in Brooklyn in 2018 and we did 168 inspections last year,” Mr Hunt said. “Some businesses had multiple notices, for example, Western Land Reclamation as part of Sunshine Groupe.
“We’ve suspended their licence; they’re no longer allowed to operate. But they also have notices for managing the landfill and reducing the amount of waste they’ve put on there in an effort to try and rehabilitate it, that is, get it covered in grass, make it look nice and pretty and reduce the dust generation from the site.”
Brooklyn residents say they are continuing to suffer dust and odour pollution, particularly on hot and windy days.
The EPA sends alerts to local schools and businesses when they know there is going to be a problem.
“We do forecasting so we know when there’s going to be a bad day in Brooklyn,” Mr Hunt said.
“If you get a hot day and there’s a strong northerly wind, you can guarantee there’s going to be some dust in the area.
“What I’d like to say to the residents is, continue to report. As soon as you notice an issue, whether it’s dust, odour or pollution in the creek or anything else of an environmental impact, that they call through to EPA straight away.
“The sooner it’s reported … the more likely we’re going to find whoever’s causing it, as we did with Australian Tallow Producers – we got a successful prosecution out of it.”
The meat-rendering company was fined $200,000 for air pollution offences in 2015.
The EPA will have stronger powers from July 2020 when new legislation will focus on prevention and penalties will be increased.
Report pollution via the EPA’s 24-hour hotline on 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842 ) or the EPA website, www.epa.vic.gov.au