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Town calls for correct disposal of batteries after Landfill fire

Published on Tuesday, 30 April 2024 at 7:03:38 AM

The Town of Port Hedland is urging residents to properly dispose of batteries following a significant fire at the South Hedland landfill on Friday.

The fire started just after 1pm and resulted in the Department of Fire and Emergency Services warning of smoke throughout the weekend and into Monday as clean-up operations at the landfill continued.

Town crews, DFES and Hedland fire brigade crews helped contain the fire to Bay 1 at the landfill. The fire was determined to be contained later Friday afternoon; crews continued to work through the night to maintain control of the fire, however smoke impacted South Hedland residents for days afterwards.

As a precaution, the landfill was closed to the public on Friday afternoon but reopened as usual on Saturday morning.

Bay 1 remains closed to the public and the fire zone continued to be monitored on Monday in case of any flare-ups.

Manager Waste and Services Grant Voss said the fire was believed to be caused by a lithium battery incorrectly disposed of in household waste and subsequently transferred to the landfill via rubbish trucks.

On average, staff are attending to one fire per week at the Landfill caused by incorrect disposal of lithium batteries. In most instances, Town staff are successful in extinguishing the fires.

“The Town provides a number of disposal points at the landfill for batteries and Friday’s fire is another example of the dangers of incorrectly disposing of them in household waste or on the tip-face,” Mr Voss said.

“The Town also provides battery recycling bins at the Civic Centre in Port Hedland; the Infrastructure Operations Centre in Wedgefield, as well as Port and South Hedland Library and the landfill.”

Mr Voss commended the efforts of landfill staff as well as emergency services who assisted to control the fire.

“There is always a concern when you have a fire at the landfill due to the nature of potentially toxic smoke and we would urge people to heed warnings put out by DFES, which is the lead agency for the emergency response to incidents such as this,” he said.

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