Standards, compliance and planning

Guidance and policy documents for landfill operators


Table 1 outlines EPA publications for landfill operators and the industry to help them understand EPA’s expectations for the management of a landfills across all operational stages of its life. This includes siting and design, operation, rehabilitation and aftercare.

The table covers includes the guidance for all licensed landfills and those that exempt from a licence or licence and works approval, based on being a municipal run landfill and the number of people they service.

Table 1: EPA guidance and related policy (with publication number) to assist the operation and regulation of landfills

Landfill operational stage Landfill exempt from licensing* Licensed landfill
Siting and design

Landfills exempt from licensing (1563)

Siting, design, operation and rehabilitation of landfills (Landfill BPEM) 788

Operation

Landfills exempt from licensing (1563)

Landfill BPEM (788)

Licence management guidelines (1322)

Landfill licensing guidelines (1323)

Annual performance statement guidelines (1320)

Licence assessment guidelines (1321)

Rehabilitation and aftercare

Rehabilitation of landfills exempt from licensing (674) if rehabilitation started before 1 January 2015

Landfills exempt from licensing (1563) if rehabilitation started on or after 1 January 2015

Landfill BPEM (788)

Landfill licensing guidelines (1323)

Closed landfill guideline (1490)

* Except:

  • municipal landfills occupied by a municipal council serving fewer than 500 people (exempt from both works approval and licensing)
  • municipal landfills occupied by a municipal council serving between 500 and 5000 people (works approval required, but exempt from licence).

Landfill guidance and related policy publications

Rehabilitation of landfills exempt from licensing (publication 674)

This guideline applies only to those municipal landfills that served a population of less than 5000 people and were identified for closure in a regional waste management plan. It provides the rehabilitation requirements for those sites that initiated rehabilitation before 1 January 2015. For sites that serve fewer than 5000 people but did not initiate rehabilitation before 1 January 2015 the rehabilitation requirements are outlined in Landfills exempt from licensing (publication 1563).

This document is not intended to provide an exhaustive guide on the closure, rehabilitation and aftercare of landfills, but rather to provide some design objectives and management criteria that should ensure that the environment is protected.

Siting, design, operation and rehabilitation of landfills (publication 788 – ‘Landfill BPEM’; part policy and part guidance)

This publication is the key source document for managing all stages of a licensed landfill in Victoria. The Waste Management Policy (Siting, Design and Management of Landfills) requires the objectives and required outcomes of the Landfill BPEM to be met; these are tabulated in appendix C. The suggested measures are guidance that should be used, and they are the default means of achieving the objectives and required outcomes.

If a landfill operator believes that, for a particular section of the guidelines, alternative means can achieve the objectives and required outcomes, a risk-based assessment will be required to support the proposed alternative measure. Alternatively, if EPA believes that additional requirements are needed to protect the environment, then this will also be supported by a risk-based assessment.

Annual performance statement guidelines (publication 1320)

This document outlines the requirement of licence holders to submit annual performance statements (APSs) to EPA (as per licence condition G3) and provides information to assist licence holders to prepare their APSs.

Under Section 31D of the Environment Protection Act 1970 licence holders must submit a statement of annual environmental performance to EPA Victoria. This statement must be signed by the highest officer in the company, such as the chief executive officer (CEO) or managing director.

A portion of the information provided through an APS is made publicly available through a search function on the EPA website.

Licence assessment guidelines (publication 1321)

These guidelines are designed to assist holders of single-site, corporate and accredited licences to establish an appropriate monitoring program that enables them and EPA to determine compliance with the licence.

Licence holders may choose to engage a consultant to assist in this process. Businesses with established monitoring programs or environmental management systems may continue to use them. However, they should be reviewed and updated to ensure the licence condition requirements are being met. Businesses are no longer required to submit their monitoring programs to EPA for approval.

Licence management guidelines (publication 1322)

This document assists the licence holder to understand and manage its licence. It is the main source of information on licensing and support all environmental performance conditions. It applies to all single-site, corporate and accredited licences.

It is up to you to understand your licence conditions and how you determine compliance with these. This document will help you understand them and their intent. It also provides a list of things to consider when complying with your licence and demonstrating compliance. For licence holders seeking additional information, references and supporting documents are provided for each condition.

While ensuring compliance with your licence, you should also consider implementing measures that will both prevent poor environmental outcomes and improve your business efficiency.

Landfill licensing guidelines (publication 1323)

These guidelines assist landfill operators and environmental auditors with ongoing environmental management of the landfill and with gaining EPA approval for construction of new landfill cells at existing landfills. They also outline the intent of all landfill-specific licence conditions and aspects to consider when complying with the conditions and demonstrating compliance.

The guidelines identify the steps to be taken by landfill operators during preparation of an environmental monitoring program and auditing of landfill operation, preparation of specifications for new landfill cells (including cap design) and monitoring of cell construction. They also provide:

  • guidance to environmental auditors for conduct of environmental assessments and audits during each stage of landfill management
  • guidance on understanding landfill licence conditions
  • guidance on potential conflicts of interest for environmental auditors.

Closed landfill guidelines (publication 1490)

This document assists landfill operators with the rehabilitation and aftercare management requirements for closed landfills and assists with seeking EPA approval for construction or augmentation of landfill caps. It also provides the framework for transitioning an operating licensed landfill into the post-closure phase.

The environmental risks posed by landfill sites continue for a significant period of time after waste acceptance has ceased. In order to ensure that the risks are appropriately quantified and managed, owners of closed landfill sites will be issued with pollution abatement notices that require the gathering of necessary information and data, and the development of rehabilitation plans and aftercare management and monitoring programs. Following completion of these plans, PC PANs (post closure pollution abatement notices) will be issued that require the implementation of the plans and programs, as well as regular reporting to EPA and environmental auditing at a frequency appropriate to the risks posed by the site.

It identifies the steps to be taken by landfill operators during preparation of an environmental monitoring program, an HA, a rehabilitation plan and an aftercare management plan, as well as ongoing auditing of landfill rehabilitation and aftercare. Where a landfill operator can demonstrate, through robust assessment, that further work to protect the environment is not required, the PC PAN will account for this through site-specific requirements or removal of standard requirements.

Landfills exempt from licensing (publication 1563)

This document provides a framework of management, rehabilitation and aftercare standards applicable to landfills exempt from licensing. It is intended to provide public assurance on the protection of groundwater and surface water, and the appropriate management of nuisances associated with small landfill development.

Page last updated on 13 Nov 2017