Emergencies send warning on dangers of batteries in landfill

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Two smouldering fire emergencies in Anglesea have highlighted the dangers of people disposing of batteries inappropriately.

A collection truck was diverted to Anglesea landfill under Country Fire Authority escort on Friday after the driver noticed smoke coming from the truck’s garbage hopper.

Surf Coast Shire Council staff assisted CFA officers in exposing and extinguishing the source of the smoke – a smouldering battery.

And a week earlier swift emergency action by Council staff and Country Fire Authority crews from Anglesea, Aireys Inlet and Torquay prevented a crushed battery from igniting a serious fire at the landfill after hours.

A passer-by raised alarm after seeing smoke coming from the landfill. Staff responded using an excavator to expose the smouldering battery and allow CFA officers to douse it with water.

Cr Kate Gazzard said the incidents served as a reminder for people to take care with what they put in their red lid landfill bins.

“These were lucky escapes due to the quick and decisive combined response,” Cr Gazzard said.

“We appeal to anyone sending waste to landfill via kerbside bins, skip bins or a private waste contractor to be careful about what goes into their bins.

“Hazardous items like batteries in general waste bins can cause fires in collection trucks or landfill, putting drivers and staff at risk. A fire at our landfill site could also potentially spread to surrounding bushland and put nearby communities at risk.

“Fires can also severely disrupt operation of the landfill and Anglesea Transfer Station. An emergency at the landfill during operating hours would mean closure of the landfill and transfer station, resulting in interruption to residents’ kerbside bin collections.”

Response to the landfill emergency tied up six CFA trucks and crews.

The Victorian Government banned e-waste including batteries from landfills in 2019.

Householders and commercial operators can safely dispose of batteries, including car and marine, for free at Anglesea, Lorne and Winchelsea transfer stations.

Smaller AAA, AA, C, D and nine-volt batteries can be dropped off for free at Council’s civic office at 1 Merrijig Drive, Torquay, or at participating Aldi, Officeworks, Woolworths, Bunnings, Mitre 10 and Batteryworld stores. Find a full list of battery recycling locations across the Surf Coast Shire via surfcoast.vic.gov.au/batteries

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