Western Sydney company BSV Tyre Recycling Australia Pty Ltd has been ordered to pay $20,000 for dangerously and excessively stockpiling waste tyres following prosecution by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA).
EPA Executive Director Regulatory Operations Carmen Dwyer said stockpiled tyres were a potential fire hazard and strict conditions applied to their storage to minimise risk of fire danger and to keep the community safe.
“Once alight, rubber tyres are extremely difficult to extinguish. They generate a large amount of heat and a large volume of smoke, both of which pose a risk to the community, environment and to firefighters,” Ms Dwyer said.
“If a fire had started, there is no doubt it would have resulted in a serious incident. Toxic smoke could easily have affected the health of neighbours and nearby residents. Residents and the M5 are just a few hundred metres away from the site and Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital and Bankstown Airport are nearby as well.”
The company was convicted and sentenced in Bankstown Local Court for breaching two of its licence conditions, by stockpiling approximately five times the allowed amount of waste tyres and also storing them in locations not permitted under the licence.
The site in Revesby is licensed to hold a maximum of 150 tonnes of waste at any one time. EPA officers found approximately 769 tonnes of waste tyres on the premises during a site inspection in April 2020.
BSV Tyre Recycling Australia was fined $14,000 for the two licence breaches and ordered to pay the EPA legal costs of $6,000.
Ms Dwyer said the way the tyres were stored also presented an additional issue.
“Not only were there too many tyres at the premises, but waste tyres were stacked far too close together and had blocked the southern driveway. Both of those things would have impeded the ability to fight a fire and blocked a potential escape route for workers,” Ms Dwyer said.
“It is vital that companies take their responsibility to the community and the environment seriously.”
The extent of stockpiling at the site has been significantly reduced as a result of the prosecution and the EPA is continuing to monitor activities at the site to ensure that appropriate standards of operation and site management are in place.
Prosecutions are one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance including formal warnings, official cautions, licence conditions, notices and directions.