This information is designed to provide civil and construction industry practitioners with the appropriate information to assist in meeting their environmental legislative requirements for the correct management of solid waste from civil and construction and demolition sites. All underlined sections provide a link to the appropriate detailed Environment Protection Authority (EPA) publication. Also see the Toolkit for the management of solid waste from civil and construction & demolition sites (publication 1655).
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The legislative context
The management of waste materials is subject to various Regulations and policies under the Environment Protection Act.
- Environment Protection Act 1970 (The Act)
- Environment Protection (Industrial Waste Resource) Regulations 2009 (IWR Regs)
- Environment Protection (Scheduled Premises and Exemption) Regulations 2007 (Sched. Prem. Regs)
- State Environment Protection Policy (Prevention and Management of Contamination of Land) (PMCD SEPP)
- National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure (ASC NEPM).
EPA has developed a range of guidelines in the waste management framework that demonstrate how to comply with the appropriate Regulations.
Environment Protection (Industrial Waste Resource) Regulations 2009 (IWR Regs)
In general terms, the IWR Regs define what waste is considered Industrial Waste and Prescribed Industrial Waste (PIW), and outline the requirements for the transport and management of PIW.
They also set out the management framework for PIW within the waste hierarchy. The Regulations outline how prescribed Industrial Waste must be managed and most importantly, categorised for off-site disposal.
It is critical that waste, both soils and industrial waste, are correctly categorised in line with the Regulations to ensure that they are disposed of or managed at an appropriately licenced premises. How this is achieved is further expanded in the documents outlined below.
Refer to Environment Protection (Industrial Waste Resource) Regulations 2009 (IWR Regs)
The introduction to waste categorisation provides an overview of waste types and hazard categorisation for both solid industrial waste and soils. All waste must be appropriately categorized before leaving the site. This is to ensure that it is managed in accordance with the IWR Regs.
This guideline helps producers of contaminated soil to categorise their waste into specific categories and applies only to soils (it is not suitable for rubble, concrete and other inert solid waste materials).
Waste categorisation involves an assessment of the soil, including site history, to identify which contaminants require analysis to determine the hazard category. The assessment must be for all chemical substances known and reasonably expected to be present in the waste. What this means is that if the site assessment identifies only zinc as a potential contaminant, then test for that only. If the site assessment identifies a range of potential contaminants, then a broader screen is required.
This guideline includes the total and leachable concentrations used for the determination of Category A, B or C PIW for offsite management purposes.
An acid sulfate soil is any soil, sediment, unconsolidated geological material or disturbed consolidated rock mass containing metal sulfides exceeding criteria published by the EPA. If managed inappropriately, waste acid sulfate soils may oxidise to produce acid, which poses a risk to human health and the environment.
The Industrial Waste Management Policy (Waste Acid Sulfate Soils) 1999 provides guidance to those involved in the disturbance of soil, sediment, rock and/or groundwater on how to identify, classify and manage acid sulfate soils and rock. This material must be managed in accordance with these requirements.
The solid industrial waste hazard categorisation and management guideline provides the method for determining the hazard category of PIW that come from manufacturing (including civil) sources, that are not contaminated soils and that are destined for disposal at a landfill.
This guideline generally is used when considering waste generated during the construction, rather than civil phase. This may include drums, packaging and liquid wastes.
To counter illegal dumping, managing and reusing fill material is strictly enforced by EPA. What may be considered as fill by some, may not meet the formal regulatory requirements. The Industrial Waste Fact Sheets help parties involved in the management of fill material from civil & C&D sites to be clear about their obligations.
The fact sheets provide advice on the roles and responsibilities of managers of fill sites, generators of fill material and industrial waste and transporters. These fact sheets do not outline the requirements for contaminated soils. However, the provision of general guidance on the site assessment process may identify the need for further soil or site investigation.
Asbestos poses health risks during removal, transport and disposal. Asbestos from an industrial source is a PIW. WorkSafe is the lead agency for occupational health and safety requirements for the identification and removal of asbestos in the workplace. Once it is removed, EPA Victoria is responsible for regulating the commercial transport of industrial asbestos (which includes removal of domestic asbestos by a commercial contractor). As asbestos waste from an industrial source is PIW, its transport requires an EPA permitted vehicle and transport certificates. This provides EPA with oversight of the chain of custody of asbestos waste material, from its removal at a site to its final disposal in landfill.
There are some variations between ACS NEPM and the WorkSafe requirements. Should asbestos impacted soils be encountered at a site, clear guidance with an expert in this area should be sought.
Sampling and analysis
Environmental samples are analysed for a range of purposes such as meeting statutory requirements of the Environment Protection Act 1970. It is important to obtain samples that accurately represent a waste or element of the environment from which they are taken. Care must be taken in the field to ensure samples are not contaminated during collection. These requirements are outlined in this guidance document.
This guideline provides information relating to the most suitable patterns for sampling and the number of samples to be taken to ensure the appropriate hazard categorisation is applied to soils being moved off-site for reuse, treatment or disposal. It is critical, in demonstrating compliance, that the appropriate level of sampling is undertaken.
There are strict requirements on the transport of waste, particular PIW. Any vehicle used to transport PIW must hold a permit issued by EPA. In addition, the driver must have undertaken the approved driver training.
Waste transport certificates must be used for most PIW loads with very limited exceptions (see below). Focus should be placed on ensuring that there are appropriate procedures for the retention of records of PIW movements as required under the IWR Regs. Records are to be retained for two years and made available to EPA upon request.
Non-PIW civil and C&D wastes are also subject to transport controls in that the transport must be taken to a facility with the appropriate approvals. Tipping dockets could be used in lieu of waste transport certificates in demonstrating that wastes have been sent to these facilities.
Owners of vehicles used for the transport of PIW must hold an EPA permit for each vehicle to transport that waste, unless the following applies:
- The load is destined for a site that is exempt from the transport permit and tracking system.
- The net load is less than 50 kilograms or litres and the transporter receives no fee or reward (EPA deems ‘fee or reward’ to include salary or contractor fees).
The permit is valid for 12 months and may be renewed annually. It remains in force until the expiry date on the permit identification label or the permit surrender date, whichever comes first. EPA may suspend or revoke a permit for breach of any condition to which the permit is subject.
Waste transport certificates are required under the IWR Regs to track the movement of PIW from ‘cradle to grave’. A waste transport certificate has three sections that must be completed accurately and in full by the relevant parties.
It is important that the producer of the waste who signs this document fully understands the content and information. This is a legal declaration used often by EPA in the enforcement of the IWR Regs.
Interstate movement of waste
The NEPM is used when applying to move controlled waste into Victoria. There are also requirements, under the National Environment Protection Measure (NEPM) for the Movement of Controlled Waste between States and Territories, as implemented by each State and Territory, that must be followed.
The interstate movement of PIW from Victoria is managed under the IWR Regs.
When moving solid PIW out of Victoria for deposit or destruction, approval must be obtained from both the receiving state, and EPA Victoria. This is different from other states’ requirements.
Classifications for disposal
Classifications issued under the IWR Regs are made by EPA to clearly put in place an appropriate classification for certain materials. Application may be made to EPA to receive an individual classification, or EPA will issue general classifications for wastes generated often.
Classifications for disposal may be grouped into the following categories:
- specific classification (individual waste streams) e.g. site specific filter cake, contaminated soil stockpiles, treatment plant residue
- general classifications for disposal which may be issued to industry-wide waste streams or to an individual waste stream.
Specific classification for disposal
EPA may issue a specific classification to an individual company for their waste stream. This type of classification may be issued when the individual company can demonstrate that the contaminants are intrinsically or chemically immobilised or when the contaminants present in the waste are not already specifically listed.
For example: A waste that is categorised as a Category B waste on the basis of total concentrations may be reclassified as a Category C waste if it is demonstrated that the leachability of the contaminant is very low. This will in turn will lead to a reduction in management and disposal costs.
Any application must be made directly to EPA and ideally from sites where stockpiling is available.
General classification for disposal
General classifications are published in the Victorian government gazette and may be used by anyone wanting to dispose of or manage these types of waste, provided they meet the conditions of the classification.
Examples of general classifications include:
- Drilling mud: As liquid waste, drilling mud is a Category A PIW under the IWR Regs. This classification recognises low-risk drilling muds as a non-PIW, provided appropriate measures are in place to prevent pollution to the environment.
- Ceramic-based fibres: Ceramic-based fibres with physico-chemical characteristics similar to those of asbestos are a PIW, and when destined for landfill must be packaged in accordance with the requirements of the Asbestos Transport and Disposal guideline. Once appropriately packaged, these wastes are classified as Category C wastes.
- Absorbent materials: This classification applies to absorbent materials used for spill containment that are then contaminated with solvent and oil, paints, lacquers and varnish.
- Packaging wastes (drums, bags etc.): Packaging wastes may include small containers, bulk bags, internal liners with solid PIW residues (i.e. trace amounts of the original product remaining in packaging after emptying). This classification does not apply to packaging where the quantity of PIW is greater than a residue. EPA has also banned large steel or plastic containers contaminated with PIW from landfill and mandated that these wastes must be reused or recycled.
- Industrial water reuse guideline: With appropriate risk mitigation and management processes, which may include treatment, industrial water can be used for a wide range of purposes including both industrial uses (e.g. cooling, material washing) or non-industrial uses (e.g. irrigation, toilet flushing). This guideline describes the necessary risk assessment and risk management process, as well as the EPA approval process for reusing industrial water.
- Liquid waste: Where the liquid waste is PIW, it must be directed to a facility licensed to accept PIW. Some liquid waste is appropriate for disposal to sewer only under a trade waste agreement. Liquid waste managed in this way is not a PIW. Evidence of a trade waste agreement must be sought if liquid waste is being directly discharged to sewer. Under the IWR Regulations, industrial liquid waste is Category A PIW, except for:
- trade waste
- industrial waste water managed in accordance with specifications acceptable to EPA
- liquid waste exempt through EPA classifications or beneficial reuse provisions.
- Site controls: There are various other considerations relating to the civil and C&D sectors when considering a sector approach. This may be the management of storm water run-off etc.