EPA slaps Brooklyn recycler with a fire suppression order

Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has directed a Brooklyn waste recycling facility to deal with a shed full of waste to reduce the risk of fire.

EPA Western Metropolitan Regional Manager Stephen Lansdell says a multi-agency team from EPA, Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) and Brimbank Council inspected the site on Friday and decided the fire risk in the shed on Bunting Road could not wait.

“This is a very serious direction under Section 62B of the Environment Protection Act 1970, a legal order that demands action immediately. We do not use it lightly,” Mr Lansdell said.

“The actions it specifies are there to stop any potential fire in its tracks, to protect the community and the environment,” he said.

The Sunshine Groupe, which runs the recycling facility at 125 Bunting Road under the name of Action Recovery and Recycling, has been given an EPA order to:

• Clear industrial waste away from entry points to the building, to create access for fire and emergency crews

• Take the industrial waste to a premises that is properly licensed to deal with it

• Install a fire suppression system in the building, and

• Have 24 hour security personnel watch the building, in case of fire

The multi-agency team has been inspecting sites from waste and recycling operations that are large enough to potentially create a stockpile that has a high risk of fire.

“Fires in waste and recycling facilities are unacceptable. Our community has had enough and we are taking a zero tolerance approach to fire risk. There are companies in the waste and recycling sector that are getting this right. Compliance is not unreasonable, it’s not hard to achieve, and it’s for the protection of the community and the environment,” Mr Lansdell said.

“We know we’ve made a difference since the days of the major fires three years ago. Any fires in the sector have been smaller, and of less impact and shorter duration. We’ve conducted more than 1,000 inspections in that time and it’s clear the combination of vigilance and enforcement is working,” he said.

The Action Recovery and Recycling site recycles mixed construction and demolition wastes and has been under EPA’s watch.

EPA has already banned it from accepting waste timber at another part of its site, and in 2018, EPA suspended the Sunshine Groupe’s licence to operate the nearby Western Land Reclamation landfill for licence breaches and overfilling

“EPA continues to monitor the Bunting Road site closely and conducted another formal inspection during the weekend,” Mr Lansdell said.

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