An alleged failure by recycler Hopley of White Hills, Bendigo, to meet the requirements of the Victoria Waste Management Policy (Combustible Recyclable and Waste Materials) has seen Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) issue the company notices that require it to stop accepting combustible recycling materials
EPA North West manager Dr Scott Pigdon said on recent inspections EPA officers observed loose stockpiles of timber waste materials without appropriate separation distances between stockpiles, buildings or the premises boundary.
“EPA has issued a notice that requires Hopley’s to cease to accept any further combustible recyclable waste material at the site. We will revoke the notice when EPA is satisfied that Hopley is complying with the Waste Management Policy,” said Dr Pigdon.
“EPA will also commence a formal investigation in relation to these matters to explore if enforcement action is warranted in line with the Compliance and Enforcement Policy and under the Environment Protection Act 1970.”
The Waste Management Policy was introduced in August 2017 giving industry ample time to understand how to be compliant with it.
EPA, through the Resource Recovery Facilities Audit Taskforce, has completed three inspections in order to assist Hopley’s to comply with the policy.
There are also concerns that in the event of a fire, the fire water run off could have long lasting impacts on the environment due to potential toxic contaminants.
Following a major fire at the SKM Coolaroo recycling plant in July 2017, the Victorian Government established the Resource Recovery Facilities Audit Taskforce, which is headed up by EPA, to inspect recycling facilities across the state and tackle stockpiles that might pose a fire risk that can lead to harm to human health and the environment.
Since its inception, the Taskforce has conducted 466 inspections across 155 sites that have resulted in 144 remedial notices and 23 sanctions being issued. Where remedial notices or actions are required, follow up inspections will be carried out to ensure compliance.