Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) are transporting a high-power water pump from Sydney to Lismore today to help extinguish the fire still burning in compost piles at the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre.
The Hytrans bulk water transfer system can release up to 8000 litres of water per minute and will help to douse the nine large compost piles that continue to smoulder and produce smoke following Sunday’s fire.
FRNSW has indicated it could be a number of days or even weeks before the fire can be fully extinguished but is confident the water pump will speed up the saturation process.
Lismore City Council is currently working with the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to establish an alternative site for the disposal of bulk green waste. Green waste cannot leave the yellow crazy ant exclusion zone around Lismore so this is a priority for Council.
“We are working with the EPA and the DPI to meet requirements around yellow crazy ants and the proper recording of green waste weights,” Council’s Executive Director of Infrastructure Services Gary Murphy said.
“We are looking for an appropriate alternative site where the public can drop off green waste and hope to have this in place by early next week.”
There are currently delays to waste collection across the city, particularly with green organics bins, and residents are asked to be patient and leave bins out until they are emptied.
Council will continue to send recycling to Chinderah via Ballina and general waste to Ipswich via Richmond Valley while the Materials Recovery Facility remains inoperable.
“We would like to thank our neighbouring councils for their support. We have had to find quick solutions to complex waste management issues and they have been very responsive,” Gary said.
“Ballina Shire Council and the Animal Rights & Rescue Group took in animals from the Lismore Pound and we’re very grateful for this.
“We would also like to thank the fire brigade and different agencies involved for their unwavering support and hard work, and I would personally like to thank the Council staff that have been working round the clock to help extinguish the fire and restore services to normal.
“We have had many messages of support and sympathy from the public and this has been very heartening, as we realise the fire is impacting our community. I want to assure people we are working to resolve the fire and our waste management issues as quickly as possible.”
The North Coast Public Health Unit has urged people with heart and respiratory conditions to take caution, with high air pollution levels in some areas of northern NSW as a result of the recycling centre fire as well as significant bushfire activity around the region.
They have advised people with asthma to follow their Asthma Action Plan, take relieving medication where necessary and if symptoms get worse, seek medical advice.
“Smoke may aggravate existing heart and lung conditions and cause irritated eyes, coughing and wheezing. Stay indoors, close windows and follow your health plan,” Assistant Director of Public Health North Coast Greg Bell said.
“To minimise any effects of smoke or air pollution, people should also consider avoiding vigorous exercise, seeking out air-conditioned premises and even consider moving away from the direct path of smoke whilst fires are still active.”
Lismore City Council is providing free respirator masks for anyone with respiratory conditions. Please collect from the Bunnings trade desk by showing ID with a residential address within or around Lismore.
The Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre will be closed for a number of weeks while the fire is extinguished and the site undergoes an extensive clean-up and damage assessment.
The Brewster Street Drop-off Centre is open for disposal of recycling, and the Nimbin Transfer Station will be open through to Saturday this week, with additional staff in place. Residents are able to use waste vouchers at this location.