The clean-up efforts at SKM Recycling plant in Coolaroo have concluded after more than 30,000 tonnes of fire-impacted waste was removed.
At the height of the fire in July, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) had about 50 appliances and 140 firefighters on scene working with emergency services partners.
Firefighting efforts were led by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, with crews from Country Fire Authority, the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia and New South Wales all lending a hand.
It is estimated that 140 million litres of contaminated water were pumped out of nearby Merlynston Creek and directed to the sewer system by Melbourne Water.
SKM is responsible for the cost of removing the waste – not the Government or the community.
Following the fire a joint Andrews Labor Government taskforce was set up to target key recycling sites that require extra management measures to ensure community safety.
The taskforce is currently auditing recycling facilities across Victoria to identify and prioritise sites that require action to better protect the community.
To assist the taskforce, the Labor Government established an interim Waste Management Policy to improve safety standards at Victorian waste and resource recovery facilities.
On Tuesday 17 October, the Environment Protection Bill 2017 to clarify the Environment Protection Authority's (EPA’s) role and strengthen its governance also passed the Upper House.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio
“We’ve strengthened the EPA to meet Victoria’s needs now and into the future.”
“The taskforce is currently auditing recycling facilities across Victoria to identify and prioritise sites that need action to better protect the community from a Coolaroo-type event.”
Quotes attributable to Deputy Premier and Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino
“Firefighting efforts at Coolaroo were led by the MFB with crews from Country Fire Authority, the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia and New South Wales all lending a hand.”
"140 firefighters worked tirelessly at the height of the fire alongside emergency services partners and on behalf of all Victorians I thank them for their hard work."
Reviewed 19 August 2020