A company illegally storing more than 3,000 tonnes of old tyres at an Acacia Hills property has been ordered to remove them by the NT Environment Protection Authority (NTEPA) after it was found that the company failed to comply with its licence and created a “significant risk to the environment”.
In the Pollution Abatement Notice (PAN) issued to Ecoflex NT, an NT licensed company based in Victoria, the NTEPA ordered the company to get rid of the tyres from Acacia Hills by February 21, 2022.
The company accumulated the tyres over a number of years in contravention of its licence, the NTEPA said in a statement.
“The breach of licence was detected in 2019 and the NTEPA has worked closely with Ecoflex since then to bring the activity back into compliance, whilst trying to maintain the option for Ecoflex to use the tyres in a proposed waste to energy plant,” the statement reads.
The company stores the tyres at 125 Golding Rd, Acacia Hills.
Ecoflex NT acquired its latest license to operate in the NT in April 2017 and will expire in April 2022. They have been operating in the NT since December 2003. It’s not clear if the abatement notice will have an impact on the company’s renewal of license.
But the NTEPA said they are disappointed with the company and are taking the matter seriously.
“It is disappointing that Ecoflex, despite every opportunity to do so, failed to comply with its licence and carry-out the required actions to ensure the environment and Territorians are protected from the risks posed by the illegal storage of thousands of tonnes of used tyres,” Chairman of the NTEPA Dr Paul Vogel said.
Dr Vogel said they are committed to using the powers afforded by the Waste Management and Pollution Control Act to protect the environment.
The NTEPA said the stockpiled tyres stored at Acacia Hills pose a significant risk to the environment and Territorians and that they could release toxic chemicals into the ground, causing contamination of soil and ground water.
They said the piles of tyres are also a serious fire hazard, putting neighbouring properties at risk and inhibiting fire-fighting abilities.
The tyres could also potentially burn for extended periods and the inhalation of fine smoke particles from combusting tyres presents a significant risk to human health and the environment.
Contravention or failure to comply with a PAN may be considered an offence under the Land Title Act 2000.
Meanwhile, in May 2021, Territory businessman named Paul Angelo McNally was ordered to pay more than $40,000 after pleading guilty to causing serious environmental harm for illegally dumping 2,000 tyres in Darwin’s rural area over two years.
Mr McNally pleaded guilty to illegally dumping thousands of tyres between 2017 and 2019 in Livingstone and Darwin River.
It was also found that he dumped the tyres in various locations including in Hay Rd, Duddell Rd, and Leonino Rd which at some point caught on fire.
McNally pleaded guilty to “polluting the environment”, as well as conducting an activity without an environment protection licence.