About one quarter of a tyre stockpile in the Victorian town of Numurkah has been removed – equating to an estimated tonnes of 1200 tyres.
Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) used its powers at the end of last year under the Environment Protection Act 1970 to enter the site, with the assistance of Moira Shire Council and funding from the Victorian Government.
Located in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley Highway, the stockpile on privately-owned land has a stockpile of an estimated 500,000 tyres.
EPA Victoria North East Region Manager Emma Knights said the disposal of the tyres was going well.
“The project has been carefully planned, and the tyres removed so far have come from the sides of the stockpile where the hazards are most critical,” Ms Knights said.
“Aerial pictures taken by an EPA camera drone late last week show piles of waste tyres have been removed from the eastern side, closest to homes along the Goulburn Valley Highway. The southern side, which faces several business premises, is currently being removed,” she said.
The removal began in mid December with up to eight trucks a day leaving the site, five days a week, and the whole project is estimated to take approximately 10 weeks.
“The work is progressing well and we are on schedule, although the completion date will depend on the weather, including any days of total fire ban,” Ms Knights said.
The stockpile has been a concern to the community for some time.
“Tyre fires are notoriously difficult to extinguish and produce considerable amounts of toxic smoke. With an estimated 5000 tonnes of waste tyres at the site, CFA has already warned of serious consequences if a summer grass or bushfire spreads to the stockpile,” she said.
The clean-up was carefully planned to include fire safety, security and wildlife and vermin management. Firefighting equipment is located on site for the duration of the clean-up, and no snakes have been observed so far during tyre removal.
The waste tyres are going to a licensed facility in Melbourne for recycling. Once they have been shredded, waste tyres can be put to use in the construction, manufacturing and automotive industries, in the form of products such as athletics tracks, brake pads, new tyres or road surfacing.