Metal recyclers fire safety blitz, Southeast Queensland

Issued: 11 Oct 2022

DES compliance officers responding to a waste facility fire in July 2022.

DES compliance officers responding to a waste facility fire in July 2022.

Compliance Officers from the Department of Environment and Science (DES) will be targeting metal recyclers across Southeast Queensland to reduce fire and environmental risks during an inspection blitz, starting next week (17 October 2022).

Between June and September, DES has responded to four significant industrial fires at metal recovery facilities.

On 2 June 2022, DES responded to a fire that broke out at a metal recycling facility at Rocklea in Brisbane’s south.

On 11 July 2022, a significant fire occurred at a metal recycling site at Molendinar on the Gold Coast.

On 3 August 2022, a similar fire caused damage to a metal recycler at Coolum Beach on the Sunshine Coast.

On 14 September, DES responded to another fire at a waste metal facility at Brendale in North Brisbane.

To prevent similar incidents, compliance officers are taking further action to reduce fire risk at waste facilities across the Southeast and improve environmental performance by conducting targeted inspections of sites stockpiling combustible recyclable material.

The aim of the blitz is to identify and disrupt any unlawful behaviour that may pose a risk to the environment or the community.

DES Industry Development and Southeast Compliance Acting Director Eugene Immisch said waste fires pose a serious risk to people and the environment.

“Waste fires often result in a release of harmful chemicals to the atmosphere and to waterways from the discharge of firefighting water,” Mr Immisch said.

“Metal recyclers in Southeast Queensland have seen an increase in waste at their sites resulting from the floods in February and March, which means they are managing more combustible material than usual.

“Compliance officers will be targeting these sites to ensure the operators not only adhering to legislation and are following the guidelines, but are working towards best practice for the safety of their staff, the community and the environment.”

DES has published guidelines for waste management operators to reduce fire risks at their sites.

Operators are encouraged to become familiar with these guidelines (PDF, 1.2MB) .

Any member of the community or industry that is concerned about a poor performing or unlicensed waste facility is encouraged to contact the Department of Environment and Science Pollution Hotline on 1300 130 372 or by sending an email to