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Final landfill licence conditions
EPA has developed a set of new landfill licence conditions. We have amended the wording of a number of conditions based on feedback we received from licence holders. We have also prepared an FAQ (frequently asked questions) sheet relating to the updated conditions.
Response to submissions
As part of the periodic review process, EPA has developed a set of new landfill licence conditions. We did this in consultation with the industry and placed a draft version on this website for comment from 13 November 2015 to 22 January 2016. We received a total of 20 written submissions, as well as receiving feedback at a number of industry events and an open house event on 19 November 2015. We received submissions from eight councils, two waste industry resource recovery groups, one industry group, six private landfill operators and three consulting firms.
EPA sought feedback on the condition wording and their application. This collated response does not answer each specific query but rather responds to the main themes that came out through the submission process. We have reworded some conditions in response to the feedback, which has provided valuable information on their potential application to licences. In general, the feedback indicated that, although the intent of the conditions was largely clear, it was not clear how compliance could be achieved.
In response to this, we have updated Licence management (publication 1322) and Landfill licensing guidelines (publication 1323) to help duty holders understand the conditions and comply with EPA’s requirements.
The updated Landfill licensing guidelines (publication 1323) now replaces the draft guideline, Landfill licensing (publication 1619). The guideline has examples for licence holders of how to achieve compliance. It also provides updated guidance to landfill operators and environmental auditors on gaining EPA approval for construction of new landfill cells and leachate ponds at existing landfills.
|Prescriptive nature of the conditions
A number of submissions have been received in relation to the prescriptive nature of the conditions. Since introducing outcome-focused conditions into licences EPA has received feedback requesting more certainty about what is expected to achieve compliance.
The prescriptive, risk-based conditions endeavour to provide this while still being outcome focussed. They are also a response to the VAGO report recommendation that, ‘EPA reviews the efficacy of current landfill licence conditions and develops additional risk-based conditions where required for inclusion on a site by site basis’. During the development of the conditions it was identified that there were a number of aspects of landfill operation that could be better reflected in landfill licences, and which required more regulation to deal with site-specific risks.
|Risk-based application of the conditions
It is not the intention to apply all risk-based conditions to all licences. Their application will be based on an assessment of the risk of that particular licence aspect at a site. This assessment will be made on the basis of a review of the site’s compliance history, the Auditor’s review of the site’s risk assessment and EPA’s knowledge of the site specific risks. This approach is considered to be forward looking by EPA and will take a licence holder’s past environmental performance into account.
|Specific references to BPEM
There have been a number of submissions in relation to the incorporation of the references to required outcomes and suggested measures from the BPEM into the licence and how this affects licence holders when best practice guidance is updated.
EPA cannot amend licences without following due process and in addition does not foresee sweeping amendments to best practice guidance in the near future.
|Availability of supporting guidelines
EPA acknowledges that the updated versions of Landfill licensing guidelines (publication 1323) and Licence management (publication 1322) were not available at the time of the release of the conditions. EPA has now updated these publications to assist licence holders in reviewing their proposed amended licences.
Timeframe for rollout of new licences
The timeframe for the rollout is as follows:
- Licence holders were issued with a request to confirm administrative information in April 2016.
- Letters of notification were issued to all licence holders in May–June 2016.
- EPA has received licence holders’ feedback and has provided responses along with the draft licences.
- Draft licences were generated based on licence holders’ feedback to our notification letters and were issued in November–December 2016.
- Final licences will be issued in 2017, following licence holders’ review of their draft licences. Licence holders will be given two weeks to review their draft licences.
What is the Landfills Improvement Program?
EPA’s Landfills Improvement Program is investigating how the siting, design, operation and rehabilitation of landfills in Victoria can be improved to meet best practice and minimise their impact of Victoria’s environment.
We recognise the large advances made in recent years regarding landfill management in Victoria and are keen to engage with stakeholders to ensure improvements continue. Responsibility for making these improvements is a shared one and EPA invites the waste industry, local government and other relevant stakeholders to offer feedback about proposed changes in landfill regulation.
EPA is seeking feedback on:
- risk management
- annual performance statement reporting
- licensing and licence conditions
- landfill (leachate and odour) management
- landfill rehabilitation.
To take part in the Landfills Improvement Program, please register your interest for future information sessions. Once you are registered, we will send you email updates about the various activities and opportunities to get involved.
For information please contact:
GPO Box 4395
Melbourne, Victoria 3001
T: 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC)
Thankyou in advance for your cooperation and feedback.