Business, industry and planning guidance

Agricultural guidance

EPA agriculture guidance

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Victoria’s agricultural sector produces $13.16 billion of agricultural product from 12 million hectares, making it a vital contributor to economic growth, and social and economic wellbeing across Victoria. When farming operations are sustainably managed, they can help preserve and restore critical habitats, protect watersheds, and improve soil health and water quality. But when practiced without care, the sector also has the potential for a range of environmental threats and impacts.

EPA Victoria has information and advice that can help you manage your farm to minimise harm to the environment. This page provides farmers and others in the agricultural sector with information about how you could manage the impacts from your agricultural operations.

EPA officer visits farm

The information provided here is for information only. It may not always be relevant to your farm and does not cover all impacts from your operation. You should continue to seek advice and information from other sources such as your agro-consultant, local council, local Catchment Management Authority, and Agriculture Victoria. It does not constitute legal advice and you should seek your own legal advice.

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  • Help me understand the odour risk assessment I need for establishing or expanding my broiler farm.

    If you are planning on establishing or expanding a broiler farm, it’s important to manage the potential risk of odour, which can generate community concerns and complaints.

    If your broiler farm requires a planning permit for a Special Class Broiler Farms and Farm Clusters, as defined in section 5 of the Victorian Code for Broiler Farms 2009, you will need to engage an odour modeller as part of your planning permit application. To help your modeller understand how to conduct odour environmental risk assessments refer to the following guideline.

  • Help me understand recommended separation distances between sensitive receivers (such as residential houses, hospitals, or surface water bodies) and my farming activities

    The Recommended Separation Distances for Industrial Residual Air Emissions Guidelines advice on recommended separation distances between sensitive receivers and agricultural activities which emit odour or have sensitive land uses.

    The distances outlined in Table 1 can provide helpful information for all farmers.

    If you are irrigating, Section 7.1.2 (pg. 40) of the Guidelines for Environmental Management: Use of reclaimed water may also provide relevant information, with suggested buffer distances to surface waters.

  • Help me understand what EPA approvals I need if my farm has more than 5,000 head of livestock.

    If you have or plan to have more than 5000 head of livestock a works approval is required from EPA Victoria.

    A works approval may be required for developing new saleyards, piggeries, feedlots or animal holding depots with a capacity of more than 5,000 livestock, and/or expanding existing holdings under the Environment Protection (Scheduled Premises) Regulations 2017. For further information about works approvals refer to the Works Approval guidelines:
    http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/our-work/publications/publication/2017/june/1658

    If you plan to have more than 5000 pigs, or are expanding or modifying a piggery with more than 5000 pigs, this guideline will provide you with more specific information about applying for the works approval:
    https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/~/media/Publications/1686.pdf

  • What do I need to consider when reusing water?

    Reusing water can play an important part in reducing the demand on your farm's precious drinking or potable water supplies. With appropriate management, which may include treatment, waste water can be used for a wide range of purposes including both plant uses (e.g. cooling, material washing) or non-plant uses (e.g. irrigation, toilet flushing).

    To reuse waste water in a safe and sustainable way it is important to identify, assess and appropriately manage the risks. These Guidelines describe the necessary risk assessment and risk management process, as well as the EPA approval process for reusing industrial water: 
    Industrial water reuse

    The Code of practice for small wastewater treatment plants have been developed to facilitate the design of small wastewater treatment systems which serve less than 500 people.

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  • What should I consider when creating dams, basins, or holding ponds on my property?

    If you are thinking about creating dams and basins on your property it is important to plan how you’ll prevent the risks of erosion or sediment pollution to waterways. Section 14 of Construction techniques for sediment pollution control guideline can help you with this.

    New EPA guidelines for sediment and erosion control will be released shortly and available from this page.

  • How can I manage potential dust on my property?

    It is important to manage your dust to prevent pollution of waterways and adjoining properties. Dust control can improve working conditions, reduce vehicle maintenance needs and reduce the chance of neighbour complaints. Many techniques to control soil erosion by water can also prevent wind erosion. Section 11 of Construction techniques for sediment pollution control guideline can help you with this.

    New EPA guidelines for sediment and erosion control will be released shortly and available from this page.

  • How can I manage sediment and erosion from roads/tracks on my property?

    It is important to put the right controls in place for managing sediment and dust from eroding access tracks and areas disturbed by equipment. Section 17 of Construction techniques for sediment pollution control guideline can help you with this.

    New EPA guidelines for sediment and erosion control will be released shortly and available from this page.

  • How can I manage sediment and erosion from earthworks on my property?

    If you are thinking about undertaking earthworks on your property it is important to plan how you will prevent the risks of erosion or sediment pollution to waterways.

    This page will provide a risk-based approach  to preventing and minimising impacts from erosion and sedimentation.

Page last updated on 28 Aug 2018