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Resource recovery facilities across Victoria are being audited following the release of the Victorian Government-commissioned Resource Recovery Facilities Audit Taskforce interim report.
The taskforce was set up in the aftermath of the SKM Recycling plant fire in Coolaroo, targeting key recycling sites that require extra management measures to ensure community safety.
To date, the taskforce has conducted 88 inspections of 73 sites and issued 37 statutory notices. More than 500 sites have been assessed for risk and 170 sites were found to store combustible material and require further investigation, according to a summary of the report.
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The report summary highlights that the audit program identified that the resource recovery sector is generally “poorly prepared” and “ill-equipped” to manage the risk of fire at their facilities.
The interim report found that while no site was as high a fire risk as Coolaroo, a wide range of issues were identified, ranging from minor housekeeping matters to major failings subject to regulatory action.
The Victorian Government will consider each recommendation made by the taskforce, with inspections to continue until June 2018.
To assist the taskforce, the state government has strengthened the state’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA) by establishing an interim Waste Management Policy to improve safety standards at waste and resource recovery facilities.
The taskforce has developed guidelines that provide detailed information for resource recovery facility operators on how best to prevent and reduce the impact of fires.
A summary of the taskforce’s interim report can be found here.