The fire at the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre in Wyrallah Road has been extinguished today by Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) with the assistance of Lismore City Council staff.
The fire in the compost piles burnt for 10 days following unusually windy conditions that caused the compost piles to spontaneously combust in the early hours of Sunday, 11 August. The fire also burnt part of the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and caused extensive damage to both the composting and recycling facilities.
“We would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to Fire and Rescue NSW for an exceptional effort to fight this fire,” Council’s Executive Director of Infrastructure Services Gary Murphy said.
“It was an unusual event and happened at a time when fire crews were already busy around the region dealing with bushfires. The fire could have continued to burn for much longer had it not been for Fire and Rescue’s speed in mobilising equipment and people power. We are very grateful for their expertise and thankful for their hard work and dedication over the last 10 days.”
Council is now working to restore the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre site so that the front half of the facility – including the weighbridge, Revolve Shop, Resource Recovery Facility, Community Recycling Centre and Container Deposit Scheme bulk collection centre – can reopen as soon as possible. Council will also place extra skips in this area of the facility so residents can dispose of green waste.
“Our immediate focus is to get the facility reopened as quickly as possible and return the majority of services to normal. We are aiming to achieve that next week,” Gary said.
“We are currently undertaking an extensive clean-up of the site and putting in place safety measures so we can reopen to the public.
“We would like to thank the community for being patient during this time, and urge residents to continue to put bins out as they normally would. We have had some delays to collections but are working to return services to normal as quickly as possible.”
Council will continue to send recycling to Chinderah via Ballina and general waste to Ipswich via Richmond Valley while the MRF remains inoperable. Green waste will be transported to a local company for composting under approval guidelines from the Department of Primary Industries to contain the spread of yellow crazy ants.
The damaged compost area and MRF are likely to stay closed for an extensive period that could be as long as 12 months while insurance assessments and repairs take place.
Insurance investigators will be on-site this Thursday to complete a full damage assessment of the composting site and MRF. Council expects to receive a report in early September with estimates on the cost of damage and a timeline for repairs.
The community will be advised when a date for the reopening of the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre has been scheduled.
The Brewster Street Drop-off Centre and the Nimbin Transfer Station both remain open.