Brimbank has spent almost $700,000 cleaning up illegally dumped rubbish in the past financial year, the council has revealed.

Brimbank mayor John Hedditch said the council receives more than 3500 reports of unlawful rubbish dumping in the municipality a year and during 2016-17, it cost ratepayers almost $700,000 for sites to be cleared.

Cr Hedditch said in the first six months this year the council issued 65 litter-related fines ranging from $311 to $1844 each.

The council runs regular patrols and out-of-hours anti-dumping patrols to deter and detect offenders.

Cr Hedditch said mobile surveillance, installing road barriers and lighting has improved illegal rubbish dumping in areas including North Sunshine, St Albans and Sydenham.

“Dumped rubbish is always bad news,” Cr Hedditch said.

“Apart from the massive financial cost to clean up illegally dumped rubbish on council land, it can have many other consequences for the community/ratepayers.

“Dumped rubbish also detracts from the amenity of the area, and can pose health and safety risks; be a fire hazard; and damage council assets, including blocking of storm water drains and damage to reserves.”

The rising financial burden of clearing illegal rubbish comes as the Environment Protection Authority confirmed that it is continuing an investigation into an industrial site at 22-24 Reid Street, Ardeer which has been turned into a dumping ground.

The EPA issued bin-hire firm Dirty Harry’s – who has leased the land – a clean-up notice for the site in December 2015, but nothing has been done. The company has since closed.

Cr Hedditch said the council last year successfully prosecuted the rogue trader for using the land as an illegal recycling business. In March 2016, a court ruled in favour of the council and the trader was ordered to pay fines and costs.

Cr Hedditch said they had not been paid.

When Star Weekly drove past the site last week it resembled a rubbish dump the size of a soccer-field.