Tyre stockpile fire risk prompts environmental charges against Tony Di Carlo and Tyremil
Tyremil’s Kingston tyre stockpile is subject to 56 environmental charges. (ABC News: Kristian Silva)
Businessman Tony Di Carlo has been charged with more than 50 environmental offences for stockpiling hundreds of thousands of used tyres in Logan.
Mr Di Carlo’s business Tyremil stores huge piles of tyres at properties in Kingston and Rocklea.
The charges relate to Tyremil’s Kingston property, with investigations continuing into the Rocklea site.
The stockpiles have been described as a fire risk, with the potential to blanket the surrounding area with noxious fumes.
In 2016, the ABC revealed Mr Di Carlo was allegedly using his Tyremil business as a dumping ground instead of a zero-emissions recycling centre capable of transforming scrap tyres into steel, gas and diesel.
In a statement, the Department of Environment and Science (DES) said it had laid 56 charges against Mr Di Carlo and Tyremil, including five breaches of environment protection orders (EPOs) served in December 2016.
The orders were to ensure tyres were stored in a manner that would reduce the risk of fire.
“Inspections throughout 2017 allegedly revealed multiple non-compliances with the EPOs,” the statement said.
The maximum penalty for the offences is a two-year prison term or a $252,000 fine, while the Tyremil company faces fines that add up to more than $1.2 million.
Other charges include failing to obtain authority to move waste into Queensland, failing to provide waste tracking information and for providing a “false and misleading” document to the department.
Mr Di Carlo said he would be contesting the charges, saying they related to activity while others were running the company.
“Not guilty on all of them, mate,” he said.
“All of those charges are previous charges to the business that we didn’t know about. I’m the only bloke standing.”
Mr Di Carlo said all of the problems with EPOs had been remedied.
Two fires have broken out at Tyremil’s Rocklea site since 2016.
The money was not paid by the January 2018 deadline, and the ABC understands the DES has now engaged debt collectors.
Australian Tyre Recyclers Association president Jim Fairweather said stockpiles posed enormous health and environmental risks.
“The lack of government-led requirement for tyre collectors and recyclers to hold an environmental licence has led to widespread stockpiling throughout the state and really has left Queensland behind the other states,” he said.
“One tyre isn’t a problem, it’s not a stockpile, but 1,000 tyres is an extremely dangerous situation to have.
“It’s very prone to arson attacks and tyre fires when they get going in sites that aren’t appropriately controlled or protected with fire mitigation measures. They can take a very long time to put out and cause huge environmental damage in the process of trying to extinguish them.”
The State Government has previously blamed the former LNP government for relaxing laws around licensing for used tyre storage.
Last year, former environment minister Steven Miles pledged to work with the industry to introduce tougher measures, saying he hoped new laws could be passed if Labor won the state election.
In a statement, Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the Palaszczuk Government was committed to improving the management, recovery and recycling of end-of-life tyres.
“A new licensing framework for all waste-related environmentally relevant activities, including reinstating end-of-life tyre storage regulations, is currently being developed,” she said.
Mr Di Carlo is due to appear in Beenleigh Magistrates Court on May 11 and in Brisbane Magistrates Court on May 18.