Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has issued a Coolaroo company with a notice that requires it to cease accepting combustible recyclable waste at its site until its stockpiles comply with the Victorian Waste Management Policy.
The company, Glass Recovery Services (GRS), operates a glass recycling operation, holds an EPA licence and was the site of two recent fires attended by Metropolitan Fire Brigade (29 March and 12 April). EPA has required GSR to continue investigating for any hotspots.
In addition, GRS is also the subject of an EPA investigation for not complying with a notice issued earlier this year that required the removal of identified industrial waste (combustible waste) from the site.
Resource Recovery Facilities Audit Taskforce Manager Danny Childs said the EPA action followed failure by the company to comply with previous notices about the risks its stockpiles posed in the event of a larger fire.
“The company’s stockpiles are in breach of the Waste Management Policy and it cannot receive further combustible waste at the site until EPA is satisfied it has regained compliance,” Mr Childs said.
“A large volume of glass waste it has received at the site has been contaminated with other types of waste, such as mixed plastics and paper and has resulted in an increased fire risk.”
Mr Childs said that the Waste Management Policy requires waste material to be stored with appropriate separation distances between stockpiles, buildings, or the premises boundary.
“Thankfully, MFB was able to control both recent the fires preventing them spreading. But as a result EPA has issued the company with a notice that requires it to closely monitor its stockpiles to ensure any further hot spots are detected early to prevent any further fires occurring,” Mr Childs said.
Mr Childs said the guidelines, introduced in August 2017, regarding the management and storage of combustible recyclable and waste materials were established to reduce the risk of fire, and the impacts of smoke and fire water run-off.
“They cover issues including separation distances, firefighting facilities, staff training, emergency management planning and preventative behaviours including regular inspections and hazard identification,” Mr Childs said.
“EPA takes a zero-tolerance approach to non-compliance against the Waste Management Policy requirements and expects the recycling industry to take its compliance obligations seriously,” Mr Childs said.