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 Victorian Government has put into place an Interim Waste Management Policy to remain in tact for 12 months.
The policy was declared in response to a significant fire at the SKM Recycling plant at Coolaroo in mid-July. The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria says it is needed to ensure that stockpiles of combustable recyclable and waste material are appropriately managed, and the associated risk to human and environmental health. These include the generation of hazardous air pollutants (including smoke), oil, run-off and leachate that affect the air, soil and waterways.
The policy, which applies to waste and resource recovery facilities, will remain in place for 12 months, however during this time further solutions for improving resource recovery facilities will be developed by the state government.
The IWMP applies to operators of sites that store combustible, recyclable, and waste material and requires storage of materials in a manner that reduces the risk to human health and the environment. These materials include includes paper, cardboard, wood, plastic, rubber, textile, organic material, refuse derived fuel, specified electronic waste, metals, and other combustible material which is considered waste. The policy also gives the EPA additional powers to support local government and Victoria’s fire services and issue remedial notices to facilities not properly managing potential fire risks.
EPA has developed Management and storage of combustible recyclable and waste materials – guideline (publication 1667) to provide practical guidance for industry on how to comply with the policy and operate in a manner that reduces potential fire risks and risks to human health and environment. This guideline will sit under the Interim Waste Management Policy.
Some of the guidelines outlined in publication 1667 include a necessity for operators to record inventory information on the types of waste stored and managed at the premises, its location and volumes. The inventory must also be maintained daily and easily accessible. Other areas of compliance range from safe working practices and infrastructure, to site selection and risk assessments. The guideline was developed in partnership with other government agencies such as Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB), Country Fire Authority (CFA), local councils and Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group. The waste industry and resource recovery representatives were also consulted.