SPECIALIST contractors have been drafted in to remove waste to help firefighters battling a smouldering fire at a tip.
Crews from Batley are still damping down at the waste transfer station at Ravenswharfe Road, Dewsbury.
Heavy lifting gear has been brought in to shift much of the waste and lorry-loads have now been taken for temporary storage at council land at Weaving Lane.
The fire has been smouldering since Sunday, February 7 and the Environment Agency is now investigating possible criminal offences.
The waste storage permit for the facility has been held by Roy Hinchcliffe since 2000.
It allows him to have up to 700 tonnes of non-hazardous waste on site.
Adjacent businesses have raised numerous objections and say they put the figure on site at nearer 20,000 tonnes.
They point out that while the waste is piled high and spilling out of a shed built to accommodate it, it is also rising from a 30-foot pit.
Before any of the waste can go to landfill it must be separated out and damped down to ensure the fire is out.
Residents are concerned that once this happens thousands of rats will escape.
With the operation to contain the fire now well into its second week it is feared the public could foot the monumental bill for an operation which has continued around the clock.
Incident manager for the Environment Agency, Gerard Morris, said: “We had concerns prior to the blaze and had been working with the operator to remove excess waste, and manage the site more effectively.
“We regularly inspected the premises over the last few months and became increasingly concerned about the amount of waste on the site.
“As a result we took steps to prevent the operator from accepting any more by suspending his permit on February 1.”