EPA and Hume City Council are encouraging members of the public to report dumpers who unload piles of asbestos-contaminated soil in streets or on public land. 
EPA Northern Metropolitan Regional Manager Jeremy Settle says some operators have been caught dumping truckloads of contaminated soil, usually late at night in industrial estates, parks or public areas in Melbourne’s north.
“This deliberate pollution is contaminating your suburb, town or neighbourhood. It’s a criminal offence and your help with something as simple as noting down a truck number plate can enable the EPA to track down the offender,” Mr Settle said.
“EPA can fine or prosecute them; we can even make them clean it up, and it all starts with that call from a member of the public,” he said.
Soil with even a small percentage of asbestos must be taken to a licensed facility for proper disposal. 

Hume City Council’s Director Sustainable Infrastructure and Services, Peter Waite said the dumping of illegal waste was an attempt to shift the cost onto the community.

“By avoiding the cost of proper disposal, offenders are lining their own pockets and undercutting honest local businesses with suspiciously cheap quotes for demolition and clean-up work,” Mr Waite said.

“A prompt report to the Council or EPA with any identifying details can make sure the culprit pays the price, not the community,” Mr Waite said. 
To help honest local companies and put more pressure on dodgy operators, the EPA urges members of the public to look closely at the quotes when choosing a contractor, and don’t hesitate when they see suspicious activity.
“Being choosy as a customer and reporting suspect dumping to the EPA can make all the difference. It’s your community, and this is a way you can protect it from waste crime and pollution,” Mr Settle said.
There’s comprehensive advice on the Victorian Government website at asbestos.vic.gov.au
Other things to watch out for, include: 
Companies that offer demolition jobs at a unusually low price – the extra cost might be dumped on your community
Buying mulch or soil from unknown operators online – make sure you are dealing with a responsible operator, or the product might arrive contaminated with waste that becomes your problem
Reporting pollution to the EPA is easy.  Your call might spark an immediate investigation or it might add to the bank of intelligence EPA has on a particular offence or incident. Either way the call is always welcome, and if it falls within the responsibility of another agency, EPA will pass it along.
“If you have noticed recent dumping of large soil piles in your community, we are looking for any information on times, dates, vehicles and any persons seen,” Mr Settle said.
Members of the public can report pollution by calling EPA’s 24-hour hotline on 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842).
The EPA website offers handy guides on:
how to hire a skip bin - epa.vic.gov.au/for-community/how-to/hire-skip-bin and on how to dispose of renovation/demolition waste 
how to dispose of building/demolition waste from your home renovation project -  epa.vic.gov.au/for-community/how-to/dispose-renovation-demolition-waste-from-home

Reviewed 26 October 2021