Amberley tyre fire clean up progress

Environment Canterbury is working closely with Hurunui District Council and Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) to coordinate the clean-up following a tyre stockpile fire in Amberley on 26-27 February 2018. To keep the community up-to-date on the process, we will be providing regular updates here. 

Update 8. 28/06/2018

  • The removal of tyres from the Amberley site commenced on 7 May 2018.
  • ECan, with help from the landowner, has been actively monitoring the removal of tyres – including inspections of the facility they are being shipped to.
  • ECan will continue to work with the owner of the tyres to ensure that the removal of the tyres is carried out as per the conditions set out in the Court order.

Update 7. 1/05/2018

A stockpile of more than 120,000 tyres at a North Canterbury property will start being removed next week.

Public concerns over the stockpile were heightened after part of the stockpile caught fire on February 26.

On April 24, the Environment Court issued enforcement orders directing Tyre Recycling Services New Zealand Limited and 2016 Tyre Shredding Limited, both of which were involved in stockpiling tyres at Amberley, to remove them all by 31 December 2018.

The orders provide for a staged removal with certain quantities by specified dates, as well as ensuring the tyres closest to the tree lines are removed first which will help remove the risk to the environment.

Environment Canterbury senior manager service delivery Nick Daniels said the enforcement orders meant the removal would cost the companies, not the ratepayer.

The staged removal, which is due to start next week, will mean tyres will be removed weekly over the coming months, with each removal helping to minimise the risks associated with the stockpile.

“The enforcement orders were granted in response to Court action filed by Environment Canterbury in December 2017. Since initiating the action, Environment Canterbury has worked closely with the companies involved, as well as the landowner and Environment Court, to develop the agreed removal programme,” he said.

“It’s important tyres are disposed of properly as storing them can be problematic as they can leach contaminants and potentially become a fire hazard,” Daniels said.

“We’ll monitor the rate of removal, as well as the safe delivery and storage at an agreed destination for further processing - which is a warehouse in Christchurch.”

Daniels said Environment Canterbury was working with the landowner to remediate the property by removing contaminants from the fire, and the landowner would continue to monitor the site for unauthorised entry with security cameras.

Environment Canterbury will continue to work with Hurunui District Council on the removal programme until the stockpile is removed.

More information about the fire at the site can be found here.

Update 6. 11/04/2018

Air quality scientists at Environment Canterbury have completed modelling of the events of the 26-27 February fire, and the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) is comfortable that the right health advice was given at the time.
Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Ramon Pink said: “The review of information regarding the tyre fire near Amberley in February 2018, supports Public Health advice given at the time to close all windows and doors to prevent smoke from entering buildings. 
By limiting their exposure to the smoke it is the CDHB’s view that it is highly unlikely that the public will experience ongoing health effects.” 

Update 5. 29/03/2018

  • We are working closely with the landowner to develop a plan for them to remove the burn waste from the property in a safe manner.
  • We have confirmation that the contaminants from the fire/burnt tyres/waste can go to Kate Valley.
  • Security remains in place for the time being.
  • We want the removal of tyres to start as soon as possible.
  • Under the direction of the Environment Court, over the last two weeks, we have had several meetings with several interested parties about the removal.
  • As this matter is proceeding before the Environment Court we cannot comment further currently. We will provide an update on this when we can

Update 4. 22/03/2018

  • We have received the results of the soil sample analysis from Hills Laboratories in Hamilton. The results are currently being looked at by Environment Canterbury contaminated sites scientists, and we expect to be able to update further on this next week.
  • Security presence remains on site 24/7, no suspicious activity has occurred.
  • The matter of the removal of the remaining tyre stockpile is still proceeding before the Environment Court so we cannot comment further currently.
  • Air quality scientists at Environment Canterbury are modelling the events of the fire of 26-27 February, to assess any potential environmental risk as a result of the fire. The modelling work is still ongoing but we expect it to be completed soon, and we will provide an update at that time.

Update 3. 19/03/2018

  • Security presence remains on site 24/7, no suspicious activity has occurred.
  • Results of the analysis of soil samples sent to Hills Laboratories in Hamilton for analysis are expected back this week. More information on this will be provided as soon as possible.
  • The matter of the removal of the remaining tyre stockpile is still proceeding before the Environment Court so we cannot comment further currently.
  • Air quality scientists at Environment Canterbury are modelling the events of the fire of 26-27 February, to assess any potential environmental risk as a result of the fire. It is expected this work will be completed this week.

Update 2. 12/03/2018

  • Security presence is still on site 24/7, no suspicious activity has occurred
  • Soil samples have been sent to Hamilton Hills Laboratory for analysis. Sample results are expected week commencing 19th March.
  • The matter of the removal of the remaining tyre stockpile is still proceeding before the Environment Court so we cannot comment further currently.
  • Air quality scientists at Environment Canterbury are currently modelling the events of the night of the fire, to assess any potential environmental risk as a result of the fire of 26-27 February. It is expected this work will be completed next week.

Update 1. 7/03/2018

  • A public meeting was held on Thursday 1 March, and the main concern for the community is the risk of another fire from the remaining stockpile.
  • Environment Canterbury has coordinated a security presence to be on site 24/7, continuing on a week-by-week basis. Additionally, the landowner has installed eight motion sensor cameras and signage at the tyre stockpile site.
  • Environment Canterbury and the Hurunui District Council are continuing to work with the landowner on how best to manage the fire risk left by the stockpile operation, including seeking advice from FENZ on ways of minimising the risk of another fire, i.e. separation of the main pile into smaller piles and other options.
  • Soil samples from the site of the fire on 26-27 February will be collected and sent away for analysis this week. Environment Canterbury has commenced discussions with Canterbury Waste Services (operators of the Kate Valley landfill) regarding disposal of the contaminated soil.
  • After samples have been collected, the clay cap will be reinstated and will remain in place until the waste is removed.
  • Air quality scientists at Environment Canterbury are currently modelling the events of the night of the fire, to assess any potential environmental risk as a result of the fire of 26-27 February. It is expected this work will be completed next week. 
  • The matter of the removal of the remaining tyre stockpile is still proceeding before the Environment Court so we cannot comment further currently. 
  • Environment Canterbury is coordinating the activities in response to the fire including sampling of the site of the fire, disposal of contaminated material and immediate site security. These activities are expected to be funded by a number of parties, however the details of which entity funds which aspects have yet to be finalised.
  • Regulatory authorities nationally continue to be concerned about the risk posed stockpiling end-of-life tyres. A lot of work is taking place on the issue, you can find out more at the below links:

For more information can be found on our news page.