Recycling company Suez Recycling & Recovery Pty Ltd has been fined more than $8,000 after a compost fire at its Epping premises that burned for six hours.
Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) Metro Region Manager Daniel Hunt said the fire was a breach of the company’s licence conditions.
“While the fire was limited to one pile of compost and did not burn with great intensity, Suez is not permitted to burn waste at its 480 Cooper Street premises,” Mr Hunt said.
“EPA has fined the company $8,060,” he said.
“The situation was made potentially worse by the fact that the compost pile was larger than is allowed under the company’s licence. EPA is requiring the company to reduce the size of the stockpile to a level that is within its limit.”
The fire started some time before 2 pm on Sunday, 4 November 2018, and was reported by a member of the public who had arrived to drop off a load of green waste. It was finally extinguished at around 8 pm the same day.
The water used in fighting the fire was contained in a treatment pond on the site, no foam was used, and the remains of the stockpile was suitable for composting.
“EPA has continued to communicate with the company to ensure that they are clear about their obligations when operating the composting facility and managing any industrial wastes generated by the process,” Mr Hunt said.
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.
Members of the public can report pollution on EPA’s 24-hour hotline, by calling 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842).