Dust Suppression

The 2023 Dust Suppression Program has now been delivered. Applications for the 2024 program will open in September 2024. If you wish to be notified/reminded prior to this date, please email dustsuppression@mornpen.vic.gov.au and your details will be added to our mailing list.

Dust Suppression and Our Unsealed Roads

Whilst many of our residents enjoy the ‘country feel’ associated with living on an unsealed road, the prospect of a long hot summer ahead has highlighted one of the downsides of this lifestyle choice.

In a similar way as lack of rain impacts our gardens, the lack of rain also impacts our roads. Water is an essential element of an unsealed road, responsible for binding the particles that hold these roads together. In our current climate, surface moisture quickly evaporates, and any remaining moisture is drawn deeper into our thirsty earth. The result is dry, dusty roads.

We are increasingly being asked what can be done about the dust and in response we stress the importance of the need for road users to drive according to the conditions of the road. After all, would you drive 100km/h in a thick fog? We also stress that road users consider the residents along these roads and drive at appropriate slower speeds and remember: LESS SPEED = LESS DUST.

Each year, the Shire undertakes the evaluation, facilitation and funding of an annual dust suppression program initiative, targeting a specific set of unsealed roads. Road characteristics such as traffic volumes and access to Shire facilities (e.g. tennis clubs, recreation reserves) play a critical role in the decision-making process with access roads given preferential treatment due to their significant use by the wider community.

For an overview of the roads included within the 2023 annual dust suppression program, please view our Dust Suppression Program(PDF, 222KB).

Any resident who resides or owns property on an unsealed road outside of this annual program and would like to purchase treatment is encouraged to apply for the Shire's cost neutral service where we can assist residents with the programming. Residents can choose to treat a section of road, typically property frontage or submit an application as part of a community group* that encompasses a whole or multiple roads. Applications can be submitted below.

*Community groups who need support contacting residents for a contribution can email dustsuppression@mornpen.vic.gov.au for assistance.

2023 Dust Suppression program applications closed at 11:59pm Sunday 19 November 2023. No applications will be accepted outside of the nominated application period.

Once applications are assessed, the Shire will inspect and grade each road, setting markers to define treatment areas. Traditionally, dust suppression is applied early December, however due to inclement weather, this may extend out to January 2024.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many unsealed roads are there and how many of these receive dust suppression?
Of the 1500 km of roads the Shire is responsible for, 380 km of these are unsealed. The Shire has an annual program for the application of dust suppressant to 22km of key high-use link roads.

What factors limit the program?
Dust suppression is an expensive process. The extent of the program is limited to the level of annual funding.

How does the Shire determine which roads receive dust suppression?
When roads are assessed for inclusion in the program, the role of the street, including traffic volumes is a primary consideration. Critical link roads and streets which provide access to Council facilities (e.g. Tennis Clubs, Recreation Reserves etc.) are given priority due to their use by the wider community.

 When is the dust suppression program carried out?
Works are usually carried out two weeks prior Christmas. This ensures there is no negative impact from spring rain and it ensures the product is still performing through to the end of the hotter months of summer.

 What is applied to the road?
A hygroscopic solution mixed with water and delivered to the site in a bulk liquid tanker.

 How is it applied?
The solution is applied using a regulated tanker. The road is graded, solution added and then it is roll finished.

 How does it work?
The hygroscopic solution attracts and retains moisture from the air. The solution binds itself and water molecules to the road surface fines making them heavier and less prone to lifting from the road by wind or traffic action. The solution penetrates the road so that finer particles are retained in the road surface and lock the coarser aggregates into place.

 What are the other benefits of this product?
It acts as a compaction agent, stabiliser and dust suppressant, resulting in a smoother, harder road surface which can often allow safer driving speeds.

How long does it last?
The longevity of any dust suppressant is dependent upon external factors such as the type of gravel treated, traffic use and climate patterns. In practice most local government and private purchasers will treat their areas at the beginning of summer or local dry season and that is enough to see them through till the same time next year.

If my road is not on the program, can you spray water on it?
With the current climate, the use of drinking water on roads is not a sustainable practice and will only be carried out as an absolute necessity e.g. health concerns. Often water sprayed on the road evaporates or soaks into the ground and within hours the effect is lost.

 Are there any other treatments available?
At this stage, this type of product is the best solution available, however through the Safer Local Roads partnership we continue to investigate new options that are environmentally, economically and socially sustainable.

 Clearly a way of resolving dust issues is to upgrade (seal) the road. Under the Local Government Act, Council is able to levy a share of any improvement works to landowners who will receive a benefit from the works. Land owners and interested parties in the area would need to petition the Shire for a special charge scheme to upgrade the road. Should you and your neighbours be interested in finding out more about this, you can find more information at Special Charge Schemes.

 In the past councils used oil based products on the road with excellent results. Why can’t we have that?
Mornington Peninsula Shire is committed to the sustainability of our unique environment. Residue of these oil based products eventually seeps into our water ways and water tables and is detrimental to our environment.

 What do I need to do on the day dust suppression treatment is carried out?
Residents are advised that all parked cars are required to be cleared from the roadway by 7am on the date of commencement, and that the road remains clear until the works are completed.

 Will I be able to drive down my road during the works?
Yes. Traffic will most likely be affected while this work is being undertaken.Vehicular access to properties will be maintained as far as practicable during the road works, however some delays can be expected. Every effort will be made to assist residents and to minimise inconvenience. Traffic advisory signs will warn traffic as required.

 Where can I get further information?
Further information can be obtained from the Dust Suppression team at dustsuppression@mornpen.vic.gov.au or customer support on 1300 850 600.