A Cootamundra, New South Wales, tyre processing facility has been fined $15,000 (Aus) for allegedly stockpiling more than five times the amount of waste tyres it is licensed to store
Despite tough laws on tyre recycling and a growing pressure to properly manage stockpiles, some Australian companies are still breaking the rules. The NSW EPA has been taking action against one offender.
The Commonwealth Steel Company, trading as Molycop 360, was penalised by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) after officers found 340 tonnes of tyres on site in May last year despite its licence only permitting up to 50 tonnes.
EPA Executive Director Regulatory Operations Carmen Dwyer said stockpiled tyres are a potential fire hazard, and strict conditions apply to their storage.
“Rubber tyres are extremely difficult to extinguish, generating large amounts of smoke and high heats placing authorities, the environment and the community at risk,” Ms Dwyer said.
“Under Molycop’s licence, they can store up to 50 tonnes but on multiple occasions, the company has ignored their obligations.
“During one inspection, EPA officers discovered a stockpile of tyres that was almost six times the legal limit, with 340 tonnes stored.
“If a fire does occur, not only is it hard to put out, but we risk the community and natural environment being exposed to toxic chemicals, as well as run-off into local waterways.
“Preventing fires and protecting our environment is everyone’s responsibility, and we expect our regulated community to follow the rules to ensure they are doing their part.
“We are pleased the company has now implemented more rigorous processes to ensure compliance, and we expect this will help them maintain what was previously a good environmental record.”
Penalty notices are one of the tools the NSW EPA uses to achieve the best environmental or human health outcomes.
Source: NSW EPA