MUD and topsoil in drains and on roads can affect road safety, damage the environment and have a financial impact on both the community and farmers.
In recent years the issue has become a growing concern in South Gippsland, according to the South Gippsland Shire Council.
But in a building dispute between the farmers and the shire, the farmers say it’s just another example of how out of touch the council is where agriculture is concerned.
The problem, says the shire, revolves around erosion from ploughing for crops especially peas, mud on tractor tyres, even farm passenger tyres and crossing drains without a properly constructed driveway; are some of causes for the issue.
These problems can lead to slippery roads which cause accidents and blocked drains where water can erode the road surface.
Manager Operations at South Gippsland Shire Counci Fred Huitema said on Gippsland ABC radio this week that blocked drains and road damage could cost the shire $5000 to $10,000 in work allocation to clean up.
He said the shire had already contacted farmers and would prefer to work with them in a co-operative manner but he said the shire was prepared to have the EPA issue penalty notices for noncompliance.
Bena farmer Bruce Glascow says it’s an overreaction.
“There have been a couple of isolated incidents in freak storms where some topsoil has been washed on to the road, It’s typical of how out of touch they are.”
He said the farming sector wasn’t well represented or well understood on the council.
But the shire is adamant.
In a statement last week they said silt can also enter waterways, rivers and oceans causing environmental issues, not to mention the loss of valuable topsoil that farmers need for their crops.
Mr Huitema said clean-ups can be expensive for the community and the farmer.
“Recent roadway clean-ups have cost thousands of dollars that would be otherwise spent on scheduled and preventative maintenance.”
He said the council would like to work with farmers in taking preventative steps to avoid any losses to both their farm and the public. Measures farmers can take include; constructing proper driveways for access into paddocks, bunding and silt control.
“This will reduce the need for any litter abatement notices, fines or charges for the cost of clean-up and damages.
“Council appreciates the hard work farmers do for our community, which is why it is important for us to work with them to find solutions to reduce the amount of mud on our roads.
“We are hoping these measures will ensure our roads are safer for the community to use,” Mr Huitema said.