After an eight month operation led by EPA Victoria, the last truckload of contaminated glass waste from Glass Recovery Services (GRS) has been removed.
The Victoria EPA has increased its occupation of a glass recycling facility in Coolaroo, after stepping in to remove stockpile hotspots in October.
The action comes after a spot fire demonstrated that an industrial waste stockpile was not being appropriately managed to protect community and environment.
According to an EPA statement, recent stockpile monitoring has detected an increase in temperatures across areas that remain a concern to the EPA.
Since 25 October, the EPA has removed over 1100 truckloads of waste from the site, representing 10 per cent of the contaminated waste where hotspots are occurring.
“Works to remove hotspots and contaminated glass will continue for some months, with an estimated volume of 50,000 cubic metres of waste to remove,” the statement reads.
EPA Taskforce Manager Danny Childs said the EPA would continue to use all regulatory powers available to ensure hotspots are removed from the site as soon as possible.
“EPA will continue to undertake this work to reduce the risk to local communities and the environment,” Mr Childs said.
A regulatory oversight group consisting of EPA, MFB, WorkSafe and Hume City Council will continue a coordinated, multi-agency approach to drive compliance across the site.
This year’s Victorian Waste Management Association State Conference addressed all the key issues impacting the state’s waste and resource recovery sector, including changes to the EP Act and the government’s stockpiling taskforce.
The clean-up efforts at SKM Recycling plant in Coolaroo concluded in late October after more than 30,000 tonnes of fire-impacted waste was removed, the Victorian Government reported.
At the height of the fire in July, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade had about 50 appliances and 140 firefighters on scene working with emergency services partners.
Firefighting efforts were led by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, with crews from Country Fire Authority, the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia and New South Wales all lending a hand.
It is estimated that 140 million litres of contaminated water were pumped out of nearby Merlynston Creek and directed to the sewer system by Melbourne Water.
Following the fire, a joint Victorian Government taskforce was set up to target key recycling sites that require extra management measures to ensure community safety.
The taskforce is currently auditing recycling facilities across Victoria to identify and prioritise sites that require action to better protect the community.
To assist the taskforce, the Victorian Government established an interim Waste Management Policy to improve safety standards at Victorian waste and resource recovery facilities.
On Tuesday 17 October, the Environment Protection Bill 2017 to clarify the Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA’s) role and strengthen its governance also passed the senate.