Thursday, September 29, 2011

Burning tyres and not a riot in sight

Burning tyre factory on Purley Way

During AOB discussions about the fire at the tyre recycling plant at the latest local party meeting, members from Fairfield, Selhurst, Broad Green and Bensham Manor wards all said they were woken by the smell of burning tyres on the morning of 22nd September. Given that burning tyres emit nasties including, sulpher dioxide and carbon monoxide, Gordon Ross, our GLA candidate, has been on the case to find out whether there was any risk to those that lived nearby the plant. Below is the response from the Health Protection Agency:

What monitoring of the run-off water was carried out/will be carried out (as there are nearby streams)?

The most appropriate organisation to contact regarding this query would be The Environment Agency which has responsibility for water quality and testing – please liaise with them directly

What advice was given to members of the public at the time regarding the smoke?

The fire which started on 22nd September 2011, was in a tyre recycling centre located on an industrial estate in Croydon. The Fire Brigade has been responding to the situation and the Health Protection Agency has been in regular contact with the Fire Brigade. In response to enquiries to the HPA from members of the public about smoke from this fire, advice was given around standard precautions such as closing windows and doors and remaining indoors, in the vicinity of smoke.


I have talked to a pollution officer at the Council, and to the people involved in monitoring the fire / water run off at the HPA and the Environment Agency. The EA has had officers on site during the fire, and testing the water in the Wandle [foam was seen in the river Wandle], and checking the wildlife on the Wandle.

They don't have environmental or health concerns about the fire and the run-off, saying the smoke dissipated and the run-off has produced no recorded death of fish or invertebrates. They are continuing the monitoring. They all seemed very diligent, and were helpful in answering my questions.

The smoke would be toxic , if you breathed enough, but the site is 500m from homes, and the EA and HPA both said it wasn't a big enough threat to require and action beyond " keeping your doors and windows closed."

I have been advised the foam is designed to be as low toxicity as possible, and to only give a low O2 load when in rivers.

Obviously the black soot from burning tyres will contain all kinds of nasty combustion products, and heavy metals.

The EA told me it will be washed down the river, it is diluted, and they will keep monitoring for any effects on fish and wildlife.

They don't consider it is necessary to take any further action regarding the soot run off , beyond more monitoring of wildlife.

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