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Tackling the risk of tyre stockpiles
In 2012-13, almost 50,000 tonnes of waste tyres (around six million car tyres) were stockpiled or dumped in Victoria. Whole tyres are flammable and, when stored in large volumes, can create a fire hazard.
By Elizabeth Calder
When ignited, a tyre fire is difficult to extinguish and it causes significant environmental, social and economic costs. In the absence of regulation, Victoria has become an attractive dumping ground, leading to numerous orphan sites across the state by failed entrepreneurs.
To protect Victorians from the fire risk associated with inappropriately-managed tyre stockpiles, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) introduced new legal requirements for storing waste tyres in April 2015. Existing and new sites that store more than 40 tonnes (or 5,000 equivalent passenger units (EPU)) of whole tyres at any time need an EPA works approval before they are built or modified as well as an EPA licence to operate. These requirements will also help support legitimate and sustainable waste tyre recycling opportunities in Victoria.
A site storing 5,000 EPU could have 5,000 car tyres, 10,000 motorcycle tyres, 1,000 truck tyres or a mix of tyres that equates to 5,000 EPU. To report a site that appears to be storing more than 5,000 EPU, contact EPA on 1300 372 842. This process registers the site and ensures the appropriate EPA, MFB and CFA representatives are notified to inspect, assess and monitor the fire risk.
If your brigade turns out to an incident at a site that’s stockpiling more than 5,000 EPU, please ensure that the incident is reported through FIRS and the chain of command.