EPA investigating the unauthorised removal of scrap metal processing waste

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is aware that scrap metal processing waste has been removed and disposed of without authorisation from a site in Launceston in recent months.

The waste is a by-product of the scrap metal shredding process, and it contains finely shredded plastics, foam, rubber, fabrics, wood fibres, soil, ferrous and non-ferrous metals. When scrap metal, including crushed cars and white goods, is processed to remove ferrous components, a waste stream is generated.

The chemical characteristics of scrap metal processing waste mean that, subject to the relevant approvals and consent, the only safe disposal option in Tasmania is in a category C landfill.  The Copping C-Cell Waste Disposal Facility in southern Tasmania is the only facility of this type in the State. Also, scrap metal processing waste can only be transported by registered Controlled Waste Transporters approved to carry this type of material.

The EPA has issued a Direction under S 92(1)(l) of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 to the operator of the Launceston site prohibiting removal of waste scrap metal from the site. A Direction has also been issued to two other sites in the Launceston municipality that are known to have received the material, prohibiting further receipt of the waste.

The EPA has contacted all Councils to make them aware of the potential environmental and WHS concerns associated with the storage, handling and disposal of waste generated from scrap metal processing.

It is important for the community to note that scrap metal processing waste may have the appearance of soil. The EPA understands the producer of the waste and/or their agents may have misrepresented this material to recipients as a clean fill or general waste. Scrap metal processing waste should under no circumstances be used as if it was clean fill or spread on land.

This type of processing waste is not produced at any other site in Tasmania to the EPA's knowledge.

The EPA is currently investigating this matter. If you suspect scrap metal processing waste has been disposed of at a facility or on any land in your municipality, call the EPA's Incident Response Hotline on 1800 005 171, or email: incidentresponse@epa.tas.gov.au

Published on: 23/06/2023