Victoria’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is encouraging waste operators throughout the state to prevent fires throughout waste sites.
EPA have already inspected over 200 waste and recovery sites across the state so far in 2021, as part of a targeted prevention campaign.
Within these inspections, EPA found that 80 per cent of operators were not fully compliant with environmental regulations in some way.
Since January, EPA officers have conducted over 360 Fire Prevention Program inspections across over 200 sites, resulting in 149 remedial notices and more than 70 compliance issues that have been referred for further investigation.
Examples of hazards and unsafe practices at some sites included oversized and poorly separated stockpiles of waste, as well as a lack of fire prevention and firefighting controls.
EPA officers also found that operators did not understand the fire risks on their own site, or how to manage them effectively.
Under Victoria’s new environment protection law, duty holders must understand fire risks and use appropriate measures to eliminate or reduce them.
A typical EPA Infringement Notice issued to a business represents a fine of more than $8,000.
EPA’s Director of Waste Crime Prevention, Rachel Gualano said that risk prevention should be a priority for waste operators.
“An EPA inspection might not always be convenient for a business but failing to comply has far worse potential consequences; you are better off having a visit from EPA than potentially causing a devastating fire that harms your staff, your business, the community, and the environment. Stamp out your fire risk,” she said.
For stockpiling guidelines, click here.