Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has issued a Coolaroo company with a notice that requires it to cease accepting combustible recyclable waste at its site until its stockpiles comply with the Victorian Waste Management Policy.
The company, Glass Recovery Services, operates a glass recycling operation and holds an EPA licence; it was also the site of two fires earlier this year attended by Metropolitan Fire Brigade (29 March and 12 April).
Glass Recovery Services is also the subject of an EPA investigation for not complying with notices issued earlier this year that required the removal of combustible waste and industrial waste from the site and for the company to cease accepting new combustible waste materials onto the site.
EPA has identified that large volumes of new combustible waste materials have been accepted to the site in contravention to these notices.
EPA Resource Recovery Facilities Audit Taskforce Manager Danny Childs said the notice follows failure by the company to comply with previous EPA notices requiring it to address risks that its stockpiles posed to the community and the environment if there had been a larger fire.
“The company’s stockpiles are in breach of the Waste Management Policy and it cannot receive further combustible waste at the site until EPA is satisfied it has gained compliance,” Mr Childs said.
“A large volume of glass waste it has received at the site has been contaminated with other types of waste, such as mixed plastics and paper and has resulted in an increased fire risk within stockpiles.”
Mr Childs said that the Victorian Waste Management Policy requires waste material to be stored with appropriate separation distances between stockpiles, buildings or the premises boundary.
“The current state of the company’s stockpile could create a significant challenge for fire authorities if ignited. A fire at the site has the potential to be a significant pollution event which could be harmful to local communities and the environment,” Mr Childs said.
Mr Childs said the guidelines regarding the management and storage of combustible recyclable and waste materials were established to reduce the risk of fire, and the impacts of smoke and fire water run-off.
“They cover issues including separation distances, firefighting facilities, staff training, emergency management planning and preventative behaviours including regular inspections and hazard identification,” Mr Childs said.
Mr Childs said that the Victorian Waste Management Policy was introduced in August 2017 giving industry ample time to understand how to be compliant with it.
“EPA takes a zero-tolerance approach to non-compliance against the Victorian Waste Management Policy requirements and expects the recycling industry to take its compliance obligations seriously,” Mr Childs said.