Early in 2018, 13 Casey residents reported dust from a local market garden entering their homes. City of Casey’s Officer for the Protection of the Local Environment (OPLE) helped improve liveability for these residents.

“Residents reported that they have spent thousands of dollars on cleaning because of the dust,” the OPLE said. “It affected their liveability.”

The OPLE found the market garden had operated for almost 20 years. As it didn’t need a planning permit, council felt it didn’t have the regulatory power or compliance tools to address it.

The OPLE believed the dust from the gardens was likely PM10 or smaller. That meant it would breach pollution laws.

“High levels of PM10 particles in the air can irritate the eyes and throat. It can have serious impacts on people with heart and lung conditions.” 

The OPLE issued the market gardener with a Pollution Abatement Notice. This required them to modify the top level of soil in exposed fields. They also had to prevent current dust emissions and create a plan for preventing future emissions.

The market gardener worked with the OPLE to comply with the requirements of the notice.

“They engaged a consultant to develop an environmental management plan,” the OPLE said. “The first solution was a cover crop to knit the surface soil together and stop it blowing away. But being a cyclical farm, they can’t have a cover crop on forever. Their plan seeks to reduce the amount of time the land is clear.”

“This was a long-standing issue for residents. So it was great we gained an outcome for them,” the OPLE said. “We’ll continue to monitor the garden to make sure the dust plan continues to work.”

Find out how we monitor Victoria’s air quality.

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Protecting stormwater in Brimbank and Hobson Bay

Preventing odour harm in Keysborough 

Reviewed 12 August 2020