More than 140 million litres of contaminated water has been pumped out of Merlynston Creek, following a massive fire at the SKM Recycling plant in Coolaroo, Victoria, in July 2017.

After being pumped out of Merlynston Creek the contaminated water was directed to the sewer system by Melbourne Water.

30,000 tonnes of fire-impacted waste has also been removed from the site.

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.

SKM is responsible for the cost of removing the waste – not the government or the community.

The clean-up at the recycling plant in Melbourne’s north has now concluded.

Following the fire a joint Victorian 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 Victorian Government established an interim Waste Management Policy to improve safety standards at Victorian waste and resource recovery facilities.

On 17 October 2017, the Environment Protection Bill 2017 to clarify the Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA’s) role and strengthen its governance also passed the Upper House.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said the government has strengthened the EPA to meet Victoria’s needs.

“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,” Ms D’Ambrosio said. 

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