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Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) is supporting the removal of a stockpile of tyres from a site on Saleyards Road, Stawell, to ensure the safety of the local community.
While this work is being undertaken, which will see the removal of an estimated one million tyres, EPA asks that the community please take notice of any safety signage and avoid the site as there will be trucks and heavy machinery in operation.
Rubber tyres are made of compounds that can cause rapid combustion, including carbon, oil, benzene, toluene, rubber and sulphur. Although tyres are not easy to ignite, once alight, extinguishing can be very difficult.
The environmental impacts that can occur from a tyre fire are many, including air quality, firewater runoff into local waterways and land contamination. By removing this stockpile, EPA will remove this risk to both community and our environment.
EPA’s primary concern is the safety and welfare of the Stawell community, surrounding communities. The stockpile presents an unacceptable fire and environmental risk.
Continued inaction from the tyre stockpile owners is unacceptable given the risk the stockpile poses to community and the environment.
The various owners have been given every opportunity to comply with their legal and regulatory obligations but failed to comply or take material steps to properly manage site risks.
As there has been no obvious activity at the site for an extended period of time, it is EPA’s view that the stockpile appears to have been abandoned or is being handled in a manner by the owners that is likely to cause an environmental hazard. As such EPA is taking the necessary steps to reduce the risk.
The tyre stockpile near Stawell has been a known risk for some time. CFA assessed it as a very high fire risk that presents social, environmental and economic risks for the people of Stawell.
On 10 May 2017 CFA served a Fire Prevention Notice (FPN) on the owner of the stockpile requiring the company to:
The FPN followed three statutory notices issued by EPA that required a reduction in the tyre stockpile, stockpiles to be separated and measures taken to reduce the risk of fire. The CFA has confirmed that the duty holder has not complied with requirements of the FPN due by 31 July 2017.
EPA also issued the company with a notice of contravention after it failed to comply with some of the requirements of the statutory notices. A notice of contravention is issued where there is a major ongoing contravention and further enforcement action planned.
The issuing of a notice of contravention indicates that EPA considers any further breach a serious offence and signals the commencement of a comprehensive investigation by EPA.
The failure of those in control of the site to meet their obligations under various EPA and CFA notices has led to EPA taking the steps it has today to reduce community risk.
Removal of this many tyres will take time, but must be done to ensure the Stawell community can be confident the risk from a tyre fire at this stockpile has been removed.
EPA with the great support of council has used the last week to take the necessary steps to ensure safe vehicle access to the site and install fire trucks.
Works are expected to take a number of months and will see up to 10 trucks a day leave the site, six days a week.
Local and Victorian government agencies worked with the company in support of the company’s plans for a pyrolysis plant. This support included regular communication about what the owner needed to do to progress its plans for the site adjacent to its property. The initial proposal did not provide sufficient information for EPA to determine environmental impacts. EPA requested further information on the Works Approval application to adequately assess potential impact to environment, this information was requested by EPA on several occasions and was not provided to EPA by the proponent. Due to a lack of information the application was not accepted by EPA. Works approvals are a critical element of the EPA's work to ensure the ongoing protection of health and environment.
EPA has engaged Tyrecycle to assist in removing the tyres and ensuring they are shredded and recycled as crumb or tyre derived fuel.
Page last updated on 10 Aug 2017