Users of this guidance
The information on this page applies to reclaimed wastewater schemes operating before 1 July 2021, and that:
- received an exemption under regulation 11(d) of the Environment Protection (Scheduled Premises) Regulations 2017 or equivalent prior provision; and
- operate under an Environment Improvement Plan (EIP) or
- operate under a Regional Environment Improvement plan (REIP) or
- operate under a Health and Environment Management Plan (HEMP).
Reclaimed wastewater is also known as ‘water recycling’ or ‘recycled water’. These terms can be used interchangeably.
The information on this page does not apply to holders of A14 permits issued after 1 July 2021.
Transitioned permits for supply or use of reclaimed wastewater
On 1 July 2021, a new environment protection and permissioning framework was introduced in Victoria under:
- the Environment Protection Act 2017 (the Act); and
- the Environment Protection Regulations 2021 (the Regs)
Under section 470 of the Act, exemptions for wastewater reuse schemes issued under regulation 11(d) of the Environment Protection (Scheduled Premises) Regulations 2017 (or equivalent prior provision) transitioned to A14 Permits (‘transitioned permits'). These A14 transitioned permits came into force on 1 July 2021.
The purpose of the transitioned permits is to allow reclaimed wastewater schemes to continue operating under the new framework.
EPA is amending transitioned permits
EPA is amending all A14 transitioned permits. We are doing this to make sure your permit conditions are up to date. This will ensure your permits align with the requirements of the new environment protection and permissioning framework. This page details changes to transitioned permits and what you need to do.
You are required to provide information before we amend your permit
Before amending transitioned permits, EPA must first gather important information. If you hold a transitioned A14 permit, EPA will directly contact you to request some information.
The information request includes:
- Confirm administrative details are up to date;
- Provide a current activity site plan for each activity site;
- Provide a copy of your current EIP, REIP or HEMP; and
- Confirm the capacity and class of reclaimed wastewater for each activity site producing reclaimed wastewater in a scheme.
- Please note the special requirements for REIPs. See below.
EPA will provide reasonable support for you to comply with the request.
If you do not provide an adequate response to the information request within the timeframe provided, EPA may consider compliance and enforcement action.
You will receive your amended permit along with a notice of amendment
Once we receive the information we request from you, we will amend your transitioned permit. You will then receive a notice of amendment and your amended permit. The notice of amendment will outline:
- details of your amended permit; and
- include new conditions attached to your permit.
All standard conditions for A14 activities will be added to transitioned permits.
Permits for this activity can be issued for up to 5 years. You must apply to renew your permit at least 15 business days before it expires. All applications must be made via the EPA Portal.
Your amended A14 permit will expire on 30 June 2026
Amended permits will have an expiry date of 30 June 2026 – 5 years from commencement of the new Act. Once your permit has been amended the details and conditions of the permit will be published on the Public Register.
EIP and REIP are becoming health and environment management plans (HEMPs)
Requirements for reclaimed wastewater schemes Environmental Improvement Plans (EIP) and Regional Environmental Improvement Plans (REIP) have changed:
- An EIP for an existing reclaimed wastewater scheme is held by holders of a Permit for a single source of supply of reclaimed wastewater.
- A REIP for an existing reclaimed wastewater scheme is held by holders of a Permit for multiple supply sources of reclaimed wastewater.
These EIPs and REIPs were written in accordance with EPA publication 464. EPA publication 464 was replaced in March 2021 by publication 1910 “Victorian guideline for water recycling”. Publication 1910 is supported by “Technical Information for the Victorian Guidelines for Water Recycling” (publication 1911).
Under all other circumstances, an existing EIP or REIP must be updated to become a HEMP in accordance with publication 1910. This must be completed by no later than 30 June 2026.
A HEMP forms a part of the Risk Monitoring and Management Program for a Permit. Your HEMP (or legacy EIP/REIP) can be requested by the Authority at any time to review your Risk Monitoring and Management Program.
You can continue to operate with an existing EIP or REIP until 30 June 2026
EPA will consider your existing EIPs or REIPs equivalent to a HEMP under these conditions of your amended permit. These special arrangements are valid until your permit expires on 30 June 2026.
All existing EIP or REIP must be updated to become a HEMP in accordance with publication 1910. You will not be able to operate under an EIP or REIP after 30 June 2026.
You must update your EIP or REIP to a human health and environment plan before 30 June 2026
An existing EIP or REIP must be updated to become a HEMP in accordance with publication 1910. You will be required to submit your updated HEMP if you apply for:
- an amendment or transfer of your permit or subordinate EPA approved documents, or
- approval of an amended EIP or REIP, or
- when you apply to renew your amended permit before 30 June 2026.
Specific requirements for renewing permits operating with a REIP
EPA no longer issues a single permit to multiple activity sites that supply reclaimed wastewater.
From 1 July 2021, you must have a permit for each activity site at which you conduct a permit activity. This includes the supply or use of reclaimed wastewater activities.
If you hold a transitioned A14 permit that has multiple activity sites, you will have to take additional steps prior to the expiry of your transitioned A14 permit. These steps include:
- apply to amend your existing transitioned permit to be for one activity site only, from where you supply reclaimed wastewater; and
- apply for a new A14 permit for each additional activity site where reclaimed wastewater is supplied from.
You must provide a HEMP in your application either to amend you exiting A14 transitioned permit or to apply for a new A14 permit.
EPA will determine whether your HEMP is acceptable for your proposed recycled water scheme.
You must ensure that you hold a valid permit for a prescribed activity at all times for each activity site.
Reviewed 14 July 2023