Charges have been laid over an 11-day blaze at SKM Recycling’s Coolaroo plant.

The Environment Protection Authority last week charged SKM and its director over the July 2017 fire, which covered parts of the northern suburbs in smoke and forced Dallas residents out of their homes.

EPA chief executive Cathy Wilkinson said the company and its director have been charged with relevant offences under the Environment Protection Act.

“The fire … resulted in a significant pollution event which Environment Protection Authority Victoria alleges had the potential to be harmful to human and the environment,” she said.

She declined to comment further as the matter is now before the courts.


July 2017 SKM recycling plant fire. (Penny Stephens /The Age.)

The charges come as the closure of SKM Recycling’s Coolaroo and Laverton North plants enters its fourth week.

The EPA banned SKM from accepting waste at both sites on February 15, amid concerns stockpiles of waste at the plants were a fire hazard.

As a result of the closure, recycling collections from Hume and Whittlesea are being sent to landfill.

Whittlesea chief executive Simon Overland said the council was working hard to find a solution.

The upper house of the Victorian Parliament last week endorsed a parliamentary inquiry into recycling and waste management.