We use a section 157 authorisation of discharges or disposal (ADD) for situations of temporary emergency, temporary relief or for repair and decommissioning. They are used for the temporary management of risks. We only grant an ADD once we’re sure an activity won’t have significant adverse effects on human and environmental health.

You need to demonstrate the ADD is for at least one of the following:

  • a temporary emergency
  • the temporary relief of a public nuisance or community hardship, including emergency events such as clean up after a bushfire or flood
  • commissioning of new plant,  equipment, or process
  • repair or decommissioning any part of plant or equipment. Decommissioning means that you stop using equipment and may take it apart or remove it from use.

Why ADDs are different to permissions

ADDs are authorisations, separate to our standard permissions such as licences, permits and registrations. An EPA authorisation means we authorise or allow an activity that would otherwise require a permission. We only grant them in specific circumstances and only on a temporary basis.


Further information about section 157 authorisations for discharges or disposal is available in EPA publication Section 157 authorisations (publication 1590).

How to apply for ADDs

You don’t need to hold a current permission with us.

  • If your s157 authorisation application is for a temporary emergency, or temporary relief,  phone 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC). An EPA officer will then notify you of what actions to take.
  • Complete an Authorisation of discharge or disposal (ADD) application form (section 157) The Act requires applications for a section 157 authorisation to be submitted online. Refer to EPA publication Section 157 authorisations (publication 1590) to support your application.
  • In the Portal, login and choose the “Apply for a Permission” option. You may need to register for Portal access first. Get help using the Portal, or by phoning 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC).
  • In the Applications menu, choose Exemptions, ADD and waste designations, and complete the ADD (authorisation of discharge or disposal) Portal form.
  • Attach your completed and signed application form prior to submitting the online Portal application form.
  • An application fee is payable. We will confirm the application fees with you when you apply. You can apply to have your application fee waived for a temporary emergency or temporary relief authorisation by emailing contact@epa.vic.gov.au and including your application number. The fee waiver application will be considered during the assessment of your authorisation application.


Check if your application has additional requirements. You must submit supporting evidence needed to meet any additional requirements for your application.

About the ADD approval process

We assess all ADDs before approval. We make decisions to issue an ADD on an individual basis.

During an emergency, we will try and process your application within three business days or sooner.

ADDs are valid for the time it takes to perform the activity. The maximum period an ADD remains valid is 120 days. 

Compliance with ADDs

ADDs will be subject to conditions. This is to minimise risk to human health and the environment. You must comply with these conditions or your ADD will be invalid and penalties may apply.

When an ADD will be refused

A section 157 authorisation will not be issued if:

  • the situation is not a genuine emergency
  • there is no evidence of a public nuisance or community hardship
  • the activity may have significant adverse effects on human health or the environment
  • the applicant has not taken all reasonable steps to identify and assess alternatives to waste disposal (section 140 Duty to investigate alternatives)
  • when the applicant engaging in an activity that may give rise to risks of harm to human health or the environment from pollution or waste has not minimised those risks, so far as reasonably practicable (section 25 General environmental duty)
  • when the applicant is solely using it to avoid non-compliance with another EPA permission or statutory notice
  • when it has been established that the situation is the result of carelessness, poor management and/or operator negligence
  • the applicant is seeking an exemption from requirements to track the movement of reportable priority wastes.

Read next

Section 157 authorisations (publication 1590)





Permission exemptions

Reviewed 5 March 2024