Licences and approvals

Odour around Melbourne Regional Landfill

Why is it a concern?

Odour is usually the most common complaint from communities living near landfills. Concern about odour impacts was the top issue raised by the community during the Works Approval consultation process.

Since January 2015, EPA has received 450 odour pollution reports about the existing Melbourne Regional Landfill. As a result, EPA conducted three odour monitoring exercises in the surrounding area in the period from 2014–2016, which involved 760 odour checks by EPA staff.

Despite the high number of community odour reports, EPA’s odour investigations during this period rarely found landfill odours in residential areas. More information about EPA’s odour monitoring campaign of Melbourne Regional Landfill is available at

How was it assessed?

The Works Approval application from Landfill Operations used odour modelling to assess potential odour impacts of the proposed landfill extension. In most cases, the modelling predicted low or very low risk of odour affecting nearby residential areas.

Due to issues with the modelling used in the application, and community concerns about odour, EPA took a different approach to assessing odour risks. This involved assessing risks based on recent odour impacts from landfill operation activities in 2016. This approach enables the occasional odour experienced by people living and working near landfills to be adequately considered.

EPA’s risk assessment concluded that:

  • Cleanaway’s Works Approval application complies with the relevant SEPP(Air Quality Management)
  • there are likely to be occasional odour impacts in the future and that this is an acceptable risk for a landfill using best-practice control measures. 

How will it be managed?

To manage potential odour issues, Landfill Operations has proposed the development and implementation of an Odour Management and Monitoring Plan. This is in addition to the implementation of other best-practice operational methods, such as:

  • reducing the size of the active tip face where waste is deposited
  • covering the tip face with soil at the end of each day.

Page last updated on 24 Mar 2017