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New regulations put a stop on hazardous tyre stock
Waste tyre facilities face tighter controls aimed at minimising the risk of hazardous fires with the introduction in April of legislation that imposes stricter guidelines on the storage and management of tyre stockpiles.
Premises that store more than 40 tonnes or 5,000 waste tyres are now required by law to obtain a works approval and licence from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).
Operators that do not comply with the new regulations can be charged under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and face severe penalties for operating a site without a licence.
The introduction of the new regulations were part of a multi-agency effort involving the EPA, CFA and MFB, with CFA taking a lead role in creating a robust Tyre Stockpile Fire Risk Assessment Framework based on the AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 Risk Management Standard.
Led by CFA’s Manager Office of the CEO James Fox, the Framework was developed in-house by CFA’s Leah McCann, Elizabeth Calder, Tim Baxter and Jennifer Blyth. It was then tested over a period of eight months before being adopted by the fire agencies and EPA as a rigorous and repeatable methodology for assessing the fire risk associated with tyre stockpiles.
The risk framework enables inspecting staff to calculate the fire risk for a particular site. Based on the assessment, EPA officers are then able to take enforceable action and issue a clean-up notice to operators.
James Fox said the new regulations were needed in response to a growing problem. Six million car tyres are believed to be stockpiled or illegally dumped annually.
“Stockpiles are a fire hazard—tyre fires are difficult to extinguish and are labour intensive. There are considerable social impacts on nearby communities caused by smoke, which can also affect industry and business resulting in economic loss. Risk to the environment is caused by the flow-on effect of fire—this includes smoke impact, soil contamination and polluted water run-off into waterways from fire suppression,” said Mr Fox.
The regulations provide clear advice to owners and operators on the safe storage of tyres and have the support of the Australian Tyre Recyclers Association and tyre recycling businesses. Occupiers of existing premises will have until 29 October 2015 to apply for an EPA licence.
CFA members unsure about stockpiled tyres at a site can report it to the EPA on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC).