Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has fined Brooklyn company Tyre-Lug Services (Barro Group Pty Ltd) more than $7,700 for failing to comply with a requirement of an EPA notice which required it to reconfigure its tyre stockpiles and reduce the risk of fire at the site.
The company was also fined over $7,700 by EPA earlier this year for storing more than 5,000 equivalent passenger units (EPU) of waste tyres without an EPA licence.
EPA Metro Manager Daniel Hunt said the company’s stockpile had been the equivalent of about 150,000 standard waste car tyres and was an environmental hazard waiting to happen.
“While the stockpile has been greatly reduced, the company still has to comply with the requirements of the EPA notice,” Mr Hunt said.
“As per the notice requirements, EPA still expects the company to arrange stockpiles as required under the Victorian Fire Services’ tyre storage guidelines.”
Mr Hunt said Tyre-Lug Services, a business that re-treads and re-lugs truck and off the road (OTR) tyres, had indicated it would apply for an EPA licence to store more than 5,000 EPU of waste tyres.
“EPA tightened tyre regulations in 2015 to ensure the Victorian public was better protected from the risk of tyre fires from unsafe stockpiles. The guidelines require premises that store more than 40 tonnes or 5,000 waste tyres to obtain a works approval and licence from EPA, which Tyre Lug does not currently have.”
Mr Hunt said that if the premises where no fire-fighting equipment was observed was to catch fire it had the potential to be an environmental disaster.
“Tyre fires can cause major pollution of the atmosphere and are incredibly difficult to extinguish, as was the case when a stockpile caught fire in Broadmeadows last year,” Mr Hunt said.
“Once ignited, tyre fires are very hard to control and generate hazardous smoke. This smoke can cause a health risk to the community through the inhalation of particles and chemicals.”
Mr Hunt said the company had until 30 April 2017 to either reduce its stockpile to below 5000 EPU or to obtain an EPA licence otherwise it could face further sanctions from EPA.
“Anyone who illegally stockpiled tyres can face a fine of up to $777,300 if prosecuted before the courts,” Mr Hunt said.
The notice to reduce the stockpile was issued by EPA following a joint inspection of the site in November 2016 with the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) and Brimbank City Council.
If the community suspects someone is illegally stockpiling tyres or taking them to a place that cannot lawfully accept waste tyres, they are encouraged to contact EPA’s 24-hour pollution hotline on 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842).