With a multi-million fine on the line, Katherine's Mayor says the council will "certainly" be seeking legal advice for the Territory Day tyre fire.
It has been just over five months since a grass fire ignited almost 200 tyres, sending clouds of toxic smoke into the sky over Katherine South on July 1.
The NT Environment Protection Agency has been directing the expensive clean-up of the charred and smouldering tyres which have already cost the council almost $500,000.
Now the EPA has issued the council with a long list of possible environmental law breaches and asked it to "show cause" which it should not be penalised.
At last night's final meeting of the Katherine Town Council for the year, elected members passed a motion to request an extension for its response to the EPA on why it should not be found in breach of a multitude of environmental laws.
"Waiting makes sure we can get [the EPA] the whole story - who put them there, why... how the fire started," acting CEO of the council Allan McGill said.
Mr McGill said his internal investigation into the tyre fire is ongoing, but would be a "thorough" contribution to the council's case.
The tyre fire bill was already costing the council the best part of half a million dollars, as it was ordered to relocate more than 2000 tonnes of contaminated soil and burnt tyres to Darwin before the wet season kicks in.
A small portion of the tyres is believed to be still burning today, leaking toxic hydro-carbons deep into the soil.
During the council meeting, the discussion turned to media coverage, after the "late agenda" item was made public on council's website yesterday.
"I would like to make a comment, the Katherine Times has released an article stating the tyre fire could cost council around $6 million, I am really disappointed they put that there before the EPA has come to a conclusion," alderman Toni Tapp Coutts said.
"We do have a duty of care, and I wish things were different... but it's scaremongering."
While alderman Jon Raynor said it was likely council would be hit by a fine, the Mayor Fay Miller appeared more confident.
"We have been very cooperative with [the EPA], we have nothing to hide... but there is a lot of background information we need to present," she said.
"There is quite a list of penalties... we will certainly be seeking legal advice."
Yesterday, Michael Knight, the owner of Katherine's waste management company M.T Bins, and a harsh critic of the council's management of waste tyres, told the Katherine Times someone needed to be held to account.
"The mess that has been caused through their actions is irresponsible," he said, "they knew not to put them there without recycling.
"All the money they have spent on hiring contractors to store them there should have been spent on recycling them instead.
"Someone must be held responsible. Whoever gave the directive to store the tyres illegally should lose their job."
Mr McGill said the extension request would also take into account the holiday period, with some alderman and council staff leaving Katherine for the Christmas break.
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