EPA has been investigating and monitoring the site since 2019.
EPA's regulatory role
We suspended MRI's licence
On 17 November 2020, EPA suspended MRI's licence to operate an e-waste and battery recycling facility.
We have been investigating operations at MRI Pty Ltd's Campbellfield site since October 2019. When we inspected the site, we found that MRI was storing more waste than was allowed under its licence conditions.
In March 2020, we issued MRI with a notice to:
- stop accepting e-waste
- manage combustible waste and recyclable material in accordance with its licence and the waste management policy.
In July 2020, we asked MRI to show cause as to why its licence should not be suspended or revoked. MRI confirmed that it had stopped accepting e-waste and that it would not accept any more waste until it was compliant with its licence.
Our 'show cause' letter, and MRI's response were written before the fire in August, 2020. We did not consider the fire when deciding to suspend MRI's licence.
MRI can have its licence reinstated if it can demonstrate that it can manage its operation responsibly.
We issued directions and notices to the company both during and after the fire. We are investigating all possible breaches of the Environment Protection Act 1970. We will enforce any breach of the Act to the full extent of the law.
Our role during the fire
We issued a direction to the company during the fire that required the company to trap and recover firewater from the site. They were also required to surround the site with a bund to trap any further firewater.
Our role after the fire
EPA is regularly inspecting the site and our investigations into breaches of the Environment Protection Act 1970 are continuing.
We issued directions that require MRI to assess rainwater that builds up onsite and remove it if required.
One direction required MRI to remove affected water in Foden Reserve. The company discharged approximately 4.6 million litres of water to the sewer for treatment.
We issued two remedial notices to the MRL. We issued a clean up notice that requires waste from the site to be:
- cleaned up and disposed of at sites licensed to accept the waste.
We issued a minor works pollution abatement notice (MWPAN) that requires the company to assess stormwater controls every day. It also requires them to remove any contaminated stormwater.
MRI has engaged an environmental consultant. We are requiring the company to provide us with daily updates.
EPA's role in clean up after the fire
The site has now moved into a recovery phase. We are the lead agency and we are working with other regulatory agencies, including Hume City Council and WorkSafe to:
- mitigate offsite impacts from the burnt waste
- make sure that MRI are managing the site properly.
Reviewed 2 December 2020