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EPA VIC to enforce tyre storage rules

After a spate of tyre stockpile fires, Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA VIC) is undertaking inspections of waste tyre storage sites across the state to check they are meeting new regulations.

EPA VIC’s officers have started inspections in metropolitan Melbourne and across regional Victoria following the introduction of storage regulations in April 2015 that aim to minimise the fire hazard associated with keeping large volumes of waste tyres.

Under these rules, businesses storing more than 40 tonnes or 5,000 old standard car tyres must obtain a works approval and licence from EPA VIC. Unlicensed premises face fines up to $350,000 under the Environment Protection Act 1970.

“Recent tyre fires in Broadmeadows and Brooklyn in Melbourne’s north and west highlight the risks around stockpiling significant numbers of waste tyres,” said CEO Nial Finegan. “Once ignited, tyres are difficult to extinguish and cause significant environmental, social and economic costs.”

Mr Finegan said EPA VIC planned to undertake around 15 inspections, focusing on firms that stated they are storing less than 5,000 tyres. The inspection program is supported by Victoria’s fire services, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade and County Fire Authority, who jointly published guidelines on Open Air Storage of New or Used Tyres in March 2014.

“EPA officers will provide guidance to those businesses who are seeking to comply with the new regulations. Where there’s a risk to the community or the environment, EPA will require improvements through statutory notices. Operators who choose to ignore the new laws around waste tyre storage face a $7,500 fine or prosecution in court,” added Mr Finegan.

Full details on Victoria’s new tyre storage regulations and licensing requirements are available on the EPA VIC website.

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