- Incident Date
- 1 October 2020
- Locations Affected
- Suburbs: Hampton Park, Narre Warren South, Cranbourne, Cranbourne North, Lynbrook, Lyndhurst
EPA Region: Southern Metropolitan Melbourne
This incident was last updated on 23 November 2023
EPA is investigating odour impacts emitted from the Veolia Recycling and Recovery Pty Ltd (Veolia) landfill in Hampton Park.
In response to the community's pollution reports, we have:
- surveyed the landfill site and surrounding areas
- inspected the site to ensure it complies with Veolia's operating licence conditions
- conducted smell/odour monitoring by odour experts and authorised officers, according to standard EPA methods
- identified various causes of the odour
Our officers have confirmed that the landfill is the source of different types of odour. The gases causing the odours are unlikely to cause long-lasting health impacts. There may be some short-term impacts but these typically go away once the smell has gone. For more information see our community health advice below.
EPA has issued several notices to Veolia since October 2022.
We are currently investigating non-compliance with EPA notices and licence breaches we have observed at the site. EPA will continue to inspect and regulate the site so they comply with our laws as quickly as possible. You can find more detail in our notices and enforcement section.
Please keep reading, or jump to the latest updates at the bottom of this page.
Report odourIf you notice a strong odour in the area, please report it to us as soon as possible. You can:
- complete our pollution report form
- email us at email@example.com
- call our Contact Centre on 1300 372 842 (24 hours).
- the type of odour (read our guide on how to describe smells)
- what time you noticed the smell
- your location
- the wind strength and direction
- how the odour is impacting you
Compliance and enforcement
EPA’s compliance and enforcement approach involves a mix of advice, encouragement and deterrence to motivate action. EPA takes an escalating approach to enforcement. This means we respond more harshly if a business is resistant, evasive or fails to account for its risks.
Notices are a formal record that EPA has required a duty holder take action to remedy a risk of harm. Veolia is currently subject to several notices.
- Improvement notices have been issued that requires Veolia to:
- provide a plan for the safe removal of overfilled waste. This plan must be verified by an EPA-appointed auditor and the waste removed by 11 April 2024.
- develop a Landfill Gas Management Plan. This plan must include a Landfill Gas Risk Assessment and a Landfill Gas Remediation Action Plan. It is due to be provided to EPA by 15 March 2024.
- provide an updated Leachate Management Plan to EPA by 18 May 2023. After this, they must follow the updated plan and report the results to EPA every 3 months until 16 March 2024.
- An information gathering notice has been issued that requires Veolia to:
- provide an approved Landfill Contour Plan (in electronic format) to EPA by 14 September 2023. EPA is currently reviewing Veolia’s response to this notice.
- An environmental action notice has been issued that requires Veolia to:
- monitor and manage a hotspot at the landfill site. They must report to EPA every second business day until 19 February 2024 (or until the hotspot is no longer present).
Further details for each notice are listed in the timeline below.
These notices mean Veolia must improve infrastructure and management at the landfill. They must manage a range of issues that impact the community.
A sanction is a punishment or consequence if you don’t comply with the law.
- Investigations are currently ongoing into potential breaches of the Environment Protection Act 2017 including breaches of Veolia’s landfill licence requirements and non-compliance with notices issued by EPA.
It is our practice is to make the results of investigations public as soon as possible. Please bookmark and return to this page to view the latest updates from EPA.
Community health advice
We have commissioned studies into the health impacts of living near landfills like the landfill in Hallam Road. Previous monitoring results and the 2017 health study of Victorian landfills (enRiskS) find that odorous chemical levels do not cause long-term harm to human health.
Exposure to odours can cause physical symptoms such as sore throats, eye/nose irritation, headaches and nausea. These symptoms should gradually go away once the odour has gone. Reactions to odours differ among an exposed population. Some people are more sensitive to odours than others, and may have symptoms even when exposed to a low concentration of an odorous compound in the air.
Offensive odours can also impact people’s mental health and sense of wellbeing. Especially if an odour lasts a long time or keeps recurring. If you are struggling to cope, please seek help from your doctor, psychologist or a mental health support service.
Vulnerable groups which include young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions (e.g. asthma) are likely to be more sensitive to odours than others.
About the odour
You might find the smell is worse at night or in the morning when the air is still, and it may seem better when it is windier. This is because landfill gases are heavier than air, which means they tend to collect close to the ground unless there is enough wind to blow them away.
Winter can also make the smell seem stronger because cold, damp weather keeps the odour even closer to the ground.
How to minimise your odour exposure
The short-term health impacts of this type of odour will vary based on the level of exposure. To minimise your exposure, we recommend:
- If the smell is noticeable outside, keep your windows and doors closed.
- If you cannot smell any odour outside, ventilate your house by opening doors and windows to replace stale air with fresh air (if possible).
Responsibilities by organisation
As Victoria’s independent environment regulator, our role is to check and enforce compliance with the Environment Protection Act (2017).
EPA is responsible for preventing or controlling pollution and improving the quality of the environment. This responsibility includes regulating activities that may present a danger to the environment.
One of the tools available to EPA is the licencing of certain scheduled premises that may present a risk to the environment. The EPA ensures duty holders, such as Veolia, complies with the obligations of their licence to minimise risk to human health and the environment.
- Learn about the EPA’s role in landfill management
- The types of EPA licences that allows a business to lawfully run high-risk activities, such as waste treatment and disposal.
- How the EPA manages the works approvals and licencing system
- Download our compliance and enforcement policy (PDF)
The local council has legislative oversight of the planning requirements for the Hallam Road site.
- Read their Hampton Park Hill Draft Development Plan (dated July 2023).
Licence holder (also known as a duty holder)
A licence is subject to conditions. These conditions give rise to a number of duties and obligations on the licence holder. Some of these are general in nature, while others require the licence holder to do (or not to do) specific things.
For example, Veolia holds an operating licence (OL000069939) that requires them to report to EPA annually, as well as in the event any breaches are detected.
- Read our general information on operating licences
- View Veolia's operating licence at the Hallam Road landfill
- Visit Veolia's website
- Read general information about landfills and how businesses should manage industrial waste
- 31 October 2023: EPA amends an improvement notice
- Notice IMPN-00005476 is amended. The compliance due date is now set for15 March 2024.
- 19 October 2023: EPA issues an improvement notice
- Notice IMPN-00005500 is issued to Veolia. It requires Veolia to provide an auditor verified plan for safe removal of overfilled waste and remove it. This notice has a compliance due date of 11 April 2024.
- 3 October 2023: EPA issues an improvement notice
- Notice IMPN-00005476 is issued to Veolia. It requires Veolia to develop a Landfill Gas Management Plan. This plan must include a landfill gas risk assessment and landfill gas remediation action plan.
- 27 September 2023: EPA revokes improvement notice
- Veolia is found to have complied with requirements of improvement notice IMPN-00005065, and EPA revokes the notice.
- 7 September 2023: EPA receives a non-compliance notification from Veolia
- Veolia advise they have not complied with a condition of their licence. They were not compliant with the top of waste contours in one of the landfill cells.
- 21 August 2023: EPA issues an information gathering notice
- Notice IGN-00005144 is issued to Veolia. This requires Veolia to provide their approved pre-settlement contour plan for the landfill to EPA in electronic format. The notice compliance date is 14 September 2023.
- 18 August 2023: EPA issues an environmental action notice
- Notice EAN-00005296 is issued in response to the hotspot at the landfill. The notice requires Veolia to manage the hotspot, and ensure they suppress any odour or smoke that is generated. They must also track air quality and odour at the site.
- Environmental consultants and an EPA-appointed auditor are helping Veolia to extinguish the hotspot.
- Veolia has a duty to manage the hotspot under its operating licence. They must report to EPA every second business day until 19 February 2024 (or until the hotspot is no longer present).
- 16 August 2023: Veolia notifies EPA about a hotspot at the landfill.
- 10 August 2023: EPA issues an improvement notice
- IMPN-00005065 is issued to Veolia. This notice requires Veolia to provide an updated Risk Management and Monitoring Program (RMMP). This plan must be verified by an EPA-appointed auditor.
- 26 April 2023: EPA amends an improvement notice
- Notice IMPN-00003834 is amended and is now due to be complied with by 16 March 2024.
- 17 February 2023: EPA issues an improvement notice
- Notice IMPN-00003834 is issued. It requires Veolia to provide an updated leachate management plan (which must be verified by an EPA auditor) and a plan to repair leachate infrastructure. This notice was amended on 26 April 2023 and is now due to be complied with by 16 March 2024.
- 14 February 2023: EPA revokes information gathering notice
- EPA revokes information gathering notice IGN-00003467 in response to Veolia providing the requested information
- 1 February 2023: EPA issues an Improvement Notice
- Notice IMPN-00004067 is issued to Veolia. The notice addresses dust generated outside of the premises boundary and discharge of sediment outside the premises (tracked on vehicle tyres). We deemed these works not compliant and are currently investigating this issue for enforcement action.
- 23 December 2022: EPA issues an Information Gathering Notice
- IGN-00003467 is issued to Veolia. It requires Veolia to provide documentation relating to environmental risk assessment and monitoring at the site, including leachate and landfill gas management. Information of any corrective actions undertaken in response to non-compliant emissions must be reported to EPA.
- 15 December 2022: EPA carries out a field assessment at the landfill
- EPA officers conducts a permission compliance assessment at the site with an EPA field specialist.
- They observe potential non compliances with Veolia's operating licence (OL000069939) obligations.
- 24 November 2022: EPA carries out a site inspection with a landfill specialist.
- EPA officers and a landfill specialist inspected the site to assess landfill gas exceedances reported to EPA by Veolia. During the inspection they observed potential non-compliances of Veolia's operating licence obligations. EPA are investigating these for enforcement action.
- 3 October 2022: EPA grants Veolia an Authorisation of Discharge or Disposal
- Authorisation ADD000300102 is issued so Veolia can transport leachate from the landfill to Veolia’s Taylors Road landfill for disposal though sewer and a trade waste agreement. This authorisation expires on 30 January 2023.
- 30 September 2022: EPA issues an improvement notice
- EPA issued an Improvement Notice to Veolia (IMPN-00003255) to install and put in place controls to ensure no water contaminated with waste, including sediment, is discharged from the premises by 1 November 2022.
- 19 November 2022: EPA deems Veolia’s remedial work is not compliant.
- Veolia submits a report to EPA in response to the earlier improvement notice. We deemed these works not compliant and we are currently considering further enforcement action.
- 24 August 2022: improvement notice issued.
- EPA issues an Improvement Notice to Veolia (IMPN-00003252) to engage a suitably qualified person to assess the risk to human health and the environment from the discharge. It also required Veolia to report on how they would prevent or reduce harm so far as reasonably practical.
- 31 Jan 2022: Hallam Road landfill changes ownership
- Veolia Recycling and Recovery Pty Ltd purchases the Hallam Road landfill from SUEZ Recycling and Recovery Pty Ltd.
- Veolia becomes the duty holder.
- November 2020: EPA respond to community reports of a garbage-type odour.
- EPA identify that the landfill's tipping face caused the odour, and that the smell was worse during high winds.
- To reduce the odour, SUEZ reduced their tipping area, and commit to covering it more often during the day.
Reviewed 16 February 2024