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This page summarises recent changes to the landfill licensing process.  

Landfill licensing stakeholders should keep up-to-date with EPA’s requirements about the notification, design and construction of new landfill cells, and be aware of EPA’s expectations for obtaining written approvals with other landfill licence conditions.

Improving EPA’s internal approval processes

Checklists for design verification and 53V construction audit submission

EPA’s Development Assessments Unit (DAU) has reformed its internal review processes for landfill related approvals; particularly the approval of notification of intent to construct a new cell and the design and construction of cells, caps and leachate ponds.

DAU has developed checklists of key assessment items for the review of landfill related design submissions and 53V construction audits. These can be populated by the auditor and included in design and construction submissions.

These checklists allow EPA to easily and efficiently locate key items that the auditor has assessed, streamlining the assessment of audits by EPA.

Checklist for auditor assessment of landfill design (cell, leachate pond and cell cap)

A draft checklist has been developed and issued to EPA-appointed auditors for comment and feedback. When finalised, this checklist will be issued directly to auditors for use. It will also be issued to duty holders via the letter of acceptance of notification of intent to construct a new landfill cell.

53V landfill construction checklist

This checklist has been finalised and issued for use by auditors. It will also be issued to duty holders via the letter of acceptance from EPA for landfill related designs.

EPA expects that both documents will become an appendix in Landfill licensing guidelines (publication 1323) upon their revision. Copies of either checklist are available by emailing approvals.applications@epa.vic.gov.au

Design verification – landfill cells, capping and leachate ponds

For most approvals, our timeframe is 20 business days. Our expectation is that landfill licence holders submit auditor-assessed detailed design documentation for new cells, capping and leachate ponds, comprising plans, technical specifications and construction quality assurance plan (CQA), to approvals.applications@epa.vic.gov.au. Landfill licensing guidelines (publication 1323) provides details of information to be included in the plans, technical specifications and CQA plan in Appendices 9, 10 and 11 respectively.

EPA has created a design verification checklist to also be submitted with the detailed design documentation. This checklist would be populated by the auditor. The draft design verification checklist is currently under review by EPA-appointed auditors for comment in relation to its useability and content. Following review and revision, it will be made available for use.

Financial assurance – landfills

Landfill financial assurance estimates must be assessed by an environmental auditor

EPA now requires an environmental auditor, as opposed to a ‘suitably qualified person’, to assess landfill financial assurance estimates prepared by duty holders. This requirement, and the assessment form that goes with it, will enable a streamlined, efficient approval process between duty holders and EPA.

The Landfill financial assurance calculation assessment form (form F1014) must be completed by an environmental auditor and submitted with duty holder estimates. An updated version of the Calculation of financial assurance for landfills, reportable priority waste management and waste and resource recovery facilities (publication 2003) now includes this requirement.

EPA will be requesting all active and closed landfills to submit up-to-date estimates using this new process, in stages. EPA will contact operators to let them know when they are required to submit an estimate. We understand this is a new process and we will provide support and time extensions where they are legitimately required.

To provide feedback or ask questions, contact the financial assurance team on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) or financial.assurance@epa.vic.gov.au.

Waste recovery

Landfill licence condition LI_L10 states: ‘You must ensure that waste that has been previously deposited is not recovered and reprocessed except in accordance with written approval from EPA’.

Practices to recover materials that have already been placed as waste within landfill cells for either relocation or reprocessing for resource recovery must not be undertaken without the prior written approval of EPA. This is to ensure the appropriate controls are in place for potential environmental risks, and that EPA is able to verify that appropriate waste handling and tracking procedures are in place.

Where it is proposed to recover and/or reprocess deposited waste, we expect the landfill licence-holder to submit a preliminary proposal using the Permissions proposal pathway guideline (publication 1995) to approvals.applications@epa.vic.gov.au. This will allow EPA to complete an initial assessment of the proposal and determine if works are required and/or the potential risks of the proposal.  

Depending on the complexity of the proposal, the landfill licence-holder may be required to produce a site-specific management plan for the recovery/reprocessing activities that includes, but is not limited to, the assessment and mitigation of the following potential risks and impacts: 

  • risk of odour to sensitive receptors 
  • risk of hotspot/fire 
  • flammable/toxic gases 
  • impact to surface/groundwater 
  • impact of recovered soil to be taken off-site 
  • risk of contamination to waste materials to be recovered 
  • risk of landfill cell collapse 
  • risk of transmitting disease 
  • risk of stockpiling of materials 
  • impact of litter. 

Email questions about recovery and/or reprocessing of deposited materials to approvals.applications@epa.vic.gov.au 

EPA transformation

The new Environment Protection Act is intended to take effect in 2021. EPA is developing guidelines that are relevant to landfills and licensing. 

Consultation with a range of stakeholders to inform the regulatory impact statement (RIS) is ongoing. The release of the RIS and draft Regulations will provide the community with an opportunity to comment formally on the Regulations.  

For more information, subscribe to our newsletters or contact us

Read next

Landfill pollution guidance – overview

Landfills – guidance for business

Landfill guidance and policy documents

Landfill and prescribed waste levies

Landfill monitoring and audits

Licensing approvals process

Local council self-assessment tool 


This page was copied from EPA’s old website. It was last updated on 23 May 2019.  

Reviewed 13 July 2021