Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) is investigating whether a large pile of over 30,000 tyres that caught fire during the recent Moyston fire were illegally dumped or stockpiled.
EPA Acting CEO Chris Webb said EPA’s investigation would initially focus on the immediate clean-up and containment of any fire remnants, which had the potential to harm local waterways.
“The remains are huge quantities of steel radials and rims that are likely coated in harmful residue, which we do not want entering local creeks and rivers. EPA is now in the process of advising on how best to capture any runoff with over 100mm of rain predicted over the next few days,” Mr Webb said.
Mr Webb said stockpiled tyres were a fire hazard waiting to happen.
“Tyre fires are very difficult to control and generate toxic smoke, which can cause health risks through the inhalation of particulates and chemicals,” Mr Webb said.
Mr Webb said large stockpiles of illegally dumped or stored tyres were an ongoing problem throughout Victoria, but one EPA was looking at closely.
“EPA is working to identify high-risk sites across the state where tyres have been illegally stored and estimates there are about six million car tyres unaccounted for, which are either stockpiles or illegally dumped; this number grows every year,” Mr Webb said.
Mr Webb said there were strict rules for how tyres should be stored.
“There is currently an Interim Waste Management Policy (IWMP) that applies to any premises storing more than 5,000 tyres. The policy requires waste tyres be stored in a manner that minimises fire risks,” Mr Webb said.
“There are also proposed regulations, which went out for public consultation last year that would require premises that store more than 5,000 tyres to obtain works approvals and licences from EPA.
“The proposed regulations would also provide ongoing legislation around the management of fire risks from the storage of waste tyres, placing EPA in a strong position to take action by enforcing stringent rules on how they are stored.”
EPA encourages the community to report pollution to EPA on 1300 372 842 or by visiting www.epa.vic.gov.au