News and updates

Fire at SKM Recycling

8 Jul 2018

A fire occurred at SKM Recycling in Maffra Street, Coolaroo at 7.30pm last night. EPA was informed at approximately 8pm and dispatched officers to the scene. The fire was declared under control just before 10.30pm

The fire was reported as burning among recycling bales within a shed on the site.

MFB has air monitoring on site, smoke was reported as remaining localised. A key environmental concern was the containing of fire water runoff, and EPA officers on scene reported that there were no off-site impacts observed. EPA will conduct a further assessment on Monday.

The site has been the subject of considerable attention since a major fire in July last year.

Since then, the site has been the subject of 28 EPA site inspections and 6 legally enforceable notices from EPA, requiring a variety of clean up and pollution control actions. EPA most recently inspected the site on 18 June 2018.

EPA notices include actions required and specific deadlines, and can be backed by EPA-issued fines or prosecution in court. EPA will enforce the law and hold those that do the wrong thing to account.

Activity at SKM’s Coolaroo site since the major fire In 2017

Following the three week fire in 2017, more than 30,000 tonnes of fire-impacted waste was removed as required by an Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) notice.

Most of the waste went to an EPA-licensed landfill in Bulla as it was no longer recyclable because of contamination caused by fire and the water used to extinguish it.

It is estimated that 140 million litres of contaminated water were pumped out of the nearby Merlynston Creek in Jack Roper Reserve and directed to the sewer system by Melbourne Water.

EPA officers on the ground also confirmed that contaminated water held on the site from fire-fighting efforts had been taken from the premises to an appropriate facility.

Victorian Government Resource Recovery Audit Taskforce

Following the 2017 Coolaroo fire a joint Victorian Government Resource Recovery Audit Taskforce  was set up to target key recycling sites that required extra management measures to ensure community safety.

The taskforce comprises EPA, MFB, CFA, Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

The taskforce is currently auditing recycling facilities across Victoria, with further regulatory work relating to the Taskforce expected to continue until mid 2020.

To assist the taskforce, the Victorian Government also established a new Waste Management Policy (WMP) to improve safety standards at Victorian waste and resource recovery facilities.

The policy applies to operators of sites that store combustible recyclable and waste material.

As of 2 July 2018:

  • 294 on-site inspections across 114 sites have been carried out
  • 69 remedial notices and 8 sanctions have been issued.


Page last updated on 9 Jul 2018