Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has fined a Sunshine North company nearly $8,000 for stockpiling over 70 tonnes of waste tyres without a licence.
EPA’s Metro Region Manager, Daniel Hunt, says the authority had given Steve’s Wheels and Tyres an Official Warning for the unlicensed stockpile, but the waste tyres were still there.
“Uncontrolled stockpiles like this represent a significant fire hazard; a burning pile of tyres produces toxic smoke and is particularly hard to extinguish,” Mr Hunt said.
EPA regulations require any stockpile of more than 40 tonnes or 5,000 waste tyres to be licensed, with requirements for on-site firefighting resources, limits on the size of the piles and minimum distances between and around them.
“The company’s site in Bunnett St, Sunshine North, had the equivalent of 8,500 waste car tyres, weighing over 65 tonnes, stored in the open, in shipping containers and in truck bodies. There were another 800 waste tyres, weighing over 5 tonnes, stored indoors,” Mr Hunt said.
“The stockpile is a hazard. It is close to neighbouring properties, most of the waste tyres are in one continuous large stockpile, and if it catches fire, firefighters would find it difficult to access,” he said.
“The company disregarded an Official Warning for storing more than the equivalent of 5000 car tyres, when it did not have a licence and had not applied for one.”
“Having issued the warning, then the fine, EPA will continue to monitor the site,” Mr Hunt said.
EPA has also served a Pollution Abatement Notice upon the company requiring the removal of the tyre stockpile to below 5,000 waste tyres within the coming months. Should the company fail to comply with this notice harsher penalties will apply.
Under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Infringements Act 2008, the company has the right to have the decision to issue the infringement notice reviewed or alternatively to have the matter heard and determined by a court.
EPA is tackling the problem of stockpiles of waste tyres, encouraging owners to help to protect the community by making sure their stockpile complies with the regulations, or by legally disposing of the tyres.
Some waste tyres go to landfill, but many can be recycled.
Anyone with a stockpile of tyres can find the EPA regulations and fire brigade safety guidelines on the EPA website at www.epa.vic.gov.au
If any member of 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).