Residents fear for their safety and remain furious nothing has changed in months at the site of a ‘disgusting’ rubbish dump in Scarsdale.
More than five months after a pollution report was first made, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and Golden Plains Shire Council officers continue to investigate rubbish dumps at a Scarsdale property.
A Scarsdale resident who lives nearby and asked not to be named, described the site as roughly one hectare of man made waste on a two-hectare property.
The resident first spotted the ‘unsightly’ dumps of rubbish on a walk late last year and said they were angry nothing had changed at the site.
“It is a danger,” they said.
“There could be asbestos, oil, petrol, and chemicals and there would be at least 100 cars. It is a concern with the fire season coming up, and it would be difficult for anyone to sell a property nearby.”
EPA south west region manager Carolyn Francis said officers inspected the Scarsdale site in March 2018 and spoke with neighbours. She said they are continuing to investigate.
“EPA is working with the local council, whose officers have inspected the site. The investigation is ongoing.”
“It is terrible that people can have so little regard for other people in the bush.A nearby resident
Golden Plains Shire Council said in a statement council was aware of the property and had not had any recent complaints about the site.
“Council has been trying to work with the owner to facilitate the removal of materials and is exploring a range of enforcement actions to achieve a satisfactory outcome for council and the community, however this is a difficult matter and is unfortunately not a ‘quick fix’ situation,” the statement said.
The resident said they were frustrated investigations had taken so long, and the property owner had not yet been forced to remove the rubbish.
“It is terrible that people can have so little regard for other people in the bush. It’s horrifying,” they said.
An EPA spokesperson explained different authorities work on varying cases involving waste.
The spokesperson said the EPA mainly dealt with cases where prescribed industrial waste and commercial bodies were involved, whereas local government would likely investigate cases of waste on a residential property.
EPA Victoria is piloting a new program to improve local government’s ability to respond to reports of waste dumping and storage.
Eleven authorised EPA officers have been assigned to 13 council areas across the state under the Officers for the Protection of the Local Environment program.
EPA’s Environment Protection Officers tend to prioritise larger scale, higher risk pollution and polluters. Central Goldfields Shire has been selected for the pilot.