Programs and initiatives

Landfills Improvement Program detailed response to licence holder feedback

This table shows the detail of EPA’s responses to licence holders feedback on the draft licence conditions.

Draft condition numbers* Final condition number Condition name EPA response
LI_G7.x LI_G7.1 Haul Road Levy

There were a number of submissions on the Haul Road Levy condition. The wording of this condition will not change and further guidance is available in relation to the landfill levy and recycling rebates in Calculating the landfill levy and recycling rebates (publication 332)

Licence holders can pay the levy on haul road material and avoid the administrative burden of a haul road construction management plan (HRCMP) or prepare a HRCMP and not pay the levy. Preparing a HRCMP allows licence holders to demonstrate appropriate use of unlevied haul road material to EPA in the event of their landfill levy being audited.






A number of submissions were received in relation to the risk based application of the new amenity conditions for odour, noise and dust. The application of these conditions will be based on the risk profile of the site.  This will take into consideration the potential for the site to generate odour/noise/dust, the site’s history of compliance with these conditions and whether odour/noise/dust has been identified as a significant risk based on the Auditor’s review of the site risk assessment and the site’s proximity to receptors.

Feedback in relation to the controls specified being too prescriptive has been incorporated by modifying the wording to more accurately reflect controls which are already common practice within the industry.

If it is decided that a site requires the application of a site specific condition, the wording of these placeholder conditions (A1.x.x., A2.x.x., A3.x.x) may reflect existing Notice requirements at the site or a recommendation from an Audit report. The wording of these conditions, if they are required, will be open for feedback from the licence holder during the draft licence review phase.


Surface Water (run-off)

Surface Water (segregation)

A number of submissions were received in relation to the modified surface water condition and the introduction of the new condition requiring the segregation of surface water from the active landfill cells. DW1 is a modification to an existing standard licence condition to encompass all runoff including wash-down water from all sites (not specifically landfills) which is why the BPEM is not referenced.

Guidance in relation to compliance and monitoring is provided in the ‘Discharges to water’ section (page 22) of publication 1322, which refers to SEPP (Waters of Victoria) and the ANZECC 2000 guidelines.

The segregation condition LX will remain, however the LX.x condition detailing suggested measures in relation to controls to segregate surface water will be removed and the detail placed in the updated supporting documentation (publication 1323). This will allow operators the ability to determine their own methods of compliance with the LX condition.

LI_DL1a LI_DL1 Groundwater

A number of submissions required clarification of DL1 (Groundwater) and how it relates to landfill cells.

DL1a) is a subdivision of the existing condition DL1 which states that ‘you must not contaminate land or groundwater’ that has been subdivided and reworded to reflect the need to separate soil and groundwater pollution. The existing text in publication 1322 pertaining to this condition will be revised to demonstrate how compliance with this condition can be achieved at a landfill site.

LI_DL1 or (LX) LI_DL5.1 Land Contamination

Response as above.


Waste Deposition

Waste Recovery

Waste Stockpiling

A number of submissions were received requesting clarification in relation to the new conditions in relation to waste deposition, waste recovery and waste stockpiling.

These conditions do not preclude resource recovery or transfer station activities as they specifically reference wastes which are for ‘disposal’. For clarity purposes, these conditions will become landfill specific conditions and additional supporting text has been developed for inclusion in publication 1323.

Waste accepted for disposal at landfill sites must only be deposited within the active cells listed in Schedule 2 of the licence. This condition is also designed to ensure that waste is placed within the landfill cells only and not to other areas of the site that have not been engineered appropriately or approved by EPA. Practices to recover materials that have already been placed as waste within landfill cells for either relocation or reprocessing for resource recovery are strictly controlled by EPA and must not be completed without the prior approval of EPA. This is to ensure that the appropriate controls are in place with due regard for the potential environmental risks associated with such practice and that EPA is able to verify that appropriate waste handling and tracking procedures are in place.

The waste stockpiling condition sets out EPAs expectation that waste will be placed ‘promptly’ into the active landfill cell. This does not necessarily preclude periods of short term stockpiling which may be required under specific circumstances.


A number of submissions were received in relation to the litter conditions WM3 and WM3.x. WM3 is a standard licence condition that applies across all licensed sites and has not changed in intent. EPA recognises that complete elimination of litter escaping from a site is unavoidable and as long as a site can show compliance by displaying the controls detailed in publication 1322, then compliance is considered to be achieved.

A number of submissions were received in relation to the risk-based application of the new litter condition WM3.x. The application of this condition will be based on the risk profile of the site and the history of compliance of the site in relation to WM3. Based on feedback, the WM3.x condition will be reworded to become less prescriptive in terms of the suggested control measures.

Monitoring Program

The L1 condition has been reworded to spell out the ‘must haves’ in relation to the Monitoring Program requirements in publication 1323. Its intent is to embed the guidance in those guidelines in the form of a licence condition. It is assumed that if an environmental auditor has verified your monitoring program then it should already be largely compliant with these requirements. However, if it is not, it will need to be updated.

The purpose of the L1.x condition is to allow EPA to prescribe a specific type of monitoring depending on the operations at your site, if required. This will usually be in response to a risk identified at the premises which is not already covered by the general condition (for example in the event that regular asbestos air monitoring is required).

LI_L3 LI_L6 Progressive Cover

A new condition has been added since the issue of the draft conditions. The wording of this condition is as follows:

‘All waste in the cell(s) listed in Schedule 2, apart from at the active tipping face must be covered at all times.’

The intent of this condition is to ensure that waste is covered at times apart from at the active tipping face. This condition will apply to all licences and will be in addition to the Daily Cover condition.

LI_L3a LI_L7 Daily Cover

A submission was received in relation to the required depth of daily cover. 0.3 m is not a new figure and is applied to putrescible wastes, which have a higher risk of LFG production and odour than solid inert. It is consistent with section 7.7 of the BPEM. Daily cover is required to control odour as well as litter.

LI_L3b LI_L7.1 Cover – asbestos

A submission was received in relation to the requirement for the immediate cover of asbestos waste. Although waste asbestos may have appropriately wrapped initially, the wrapping may have deteriorated during transport, transfer and placement. For OH&S purposes it should be covered as soon as practicable. The wording in publication 1323 states that asbestos waste should be covered immediately.

In relation the use of GPS to track the location of asbestos waste, EPA is now requiring that asbestos is deposited in specifically designated cells, which would make the requirement to track via GPS unnecessary as a licence condition. However, EPA would endorse this practice if operators chose to use it.


Leachate Management (300 mm)

Leachate Management (Hydrogeological Assessment)

Leachate Management (Extraction)

Leachate (Review HA)

Further clarification on these conditions will be provided in the updated version of publication 1323.

300 mm is the maximum leachate depth above the liner surface for a cell, for cells engineered to the current BPEM standard.  This is the condition for all cells engineered to the current BPEM standard, and no HA is required for these.

EPA understands that leachate levels will be site and cell specific which is why EPA is requiring an HA for each site (unless all cells are engineered to the current BPEM standard). The HA will specify the maximum levels at which leachate must be managed in each cell, where the 0.3 m is not achievable.

Where a requirement to maintain a 300 mm leachate level is currently applied to a licence and there is sufficient evidence that it is being complied with it can remain on the licence.

Where there are existing leachate levels conditions on a licence but compliance is an ongoing issue, these sites will receive the condition to conduct a HA to derive site specific extraction levels, in addition to their existing conditions. Once the HA has been developed and provided to EPA, the existing HA condition will be removed from the licence and replaced with the extraction and review conditions.

Where a licence does not currently have a 300 mm extraction level, it will receive the condition to conduct a HA to derive site specific extraction levels. Once the HA has been developed and provided to EPA, the existing HA condition will be removed from the licence and replaced with the extraction and review conditions.

The HA condition has an allowance timeframe [placeholder-date] for compliance. During the draft licence review phase, the time period for compliance will be discussed with the licence holder, as it is understood that there are costs associated with this condition.

In response to submissions in relation the review period, the HA must be reviewed every five years by an environmental auditor. This is considered an appropriate length of time to allow for changes in the hydrogeological regime to be assessed and is consistent with approaches used in other Australian jurisdictions and abroad.

In response to the feedback that the HA could form part of the operational audit (53v) and what the role of operational auditor is, EPA’s position is that the auditor conducting the section 53v audit of landfill operations can complete and therefore verify the hydrogeological assessment as part of the section 53v audit, as long as it fulfils all of the requirements of publication 668. As far as possible, the timing of the production and review of the HA can then be aligned with the 53v audit cycle, assuming that it is within the five-year review period.

In response to the query as to whether this condition relates to sites with no extraction and gravity drainage, it is EPA’s position that it is applicable as leachate levels for gravity draining sites need to be maintained to make sure the drainage remains functional.


Landfill Gas (LFG)

Landfill Gas (LFG) Background Gas Concentrations

In response to the submission in relation to the application of these conditions to sites which only accept solid waste, it is EPA’s experience that solid inert landfills in Victoria are actively extracting landfill gas. Whereas it is accepted that solid inert landfills produce lower volumes of gas than putrescible over an extended duration due to the higher ratio of hemi-cellulose to cellulose in solid inert waste, these volumes are still sufficient that gas action level are required to be met to manage the risks of landfill gas migration.

The Landfill Gas Background Concentration condition will be applied to sites which have L5 applied.

The requirement for the L5.1 condition is a response to EPA’s experience that licence holders have used inconsistent methods to derive the background methane and carbon dioxide values. EPA wishes to drive the derivation of these values in a consistent manner so any genuine background gases can be accounted for.

To help with compliance with this condition, EPA is producing an updated version of the landfill gas (fugitive emissions) guidelines and information on deriving background ground gases will be contained within it. This will be available in the coming months.

LI_L6 LI_L22 Rehabilitation and Aftercare

A number of submissions were received in relation to the requirement to conduct rehabilitation and aftercare of historical cells i.e. those that were constructed, filled and rehabilitated prior to current BPEM requirements. EPA’s position is that if the cells are filled but not capped then the BPEM applies. If cells are filled and capped prior to the BPEM then there is no requirement to revisit rehabilitation unless rectification work is required.

EPA’s position in relation to the setting of timeframes for progressive capture of landfill gas and leachate is that it is good proactive, progressive and planned management and landfill gas should be managed (as far as practicable) whenever it is generated. EPA is prepared to negotiate the timeframe for progressive rehabilitation once the plan is prepared.


Intermediate Cover – full cell

Intermediate Cover specification-temporary cessation of filling in a cell

A number of submissions were received into the origin of the 500 mm compacted clay layer. This arises from the BPEM workshop 2012 and EPA technical expertise on the thickness required to reduce leachate generation and allows for the installation and reasonable operation of a gas extraction system pending the installation of the final cap. The current BPEM has not been updated to reflect this, however, supporting text will be provided in publication 1323 which states that, ‘EPA may approve an alternative intermediate capping method if it can be demonstrated the performance will be equal to or better than compacted clay. Alternative cover systems need to meet the requirements of Section 7.7 and the landfill gas action levels in Table 6.4 of the EPA Publication 788.’

LI_L6c LI_L27 Final Capping

EPA’s position is that capping of the cell should start as soon as the cell is full. As the capping design is part of the overall cell design for new cells, a time frame for their rehabilitation should be included in the plan from its beginning. EPA will consider alternatives to clay (e.g., geosynthetic clay) if necessary. As this condition should mainly apply to new cells, the capping area should not be that large. If there are large areas that have not been capped, the landfill operator should negotiate with EPA for providing capping to such areas (normally this will happen as part of a pollution abatement notice).

It is understood that phyto-capping has its specific requirements (five-year trial etc.) so this condition will be modified to include a placeholder for cell name and time period for final capping.

LI_L6d LI_L28 Closure

The intent of this condition is to encourage the landfill operator to notify EPA as early as possible of the intention to cease accepting waste as this can provide EPA with sufficient time to consider the post closure pollution abatement notice conditions for the site.

LI_L6e LI_L25 Cap – design and approval

There were a number of submissions in relation to the requirement to have these conditions expressly referred to in the licence when the requirements are outlined in publication 1323. It has been EPA’s experience that these requirements have not been well adhered to and so a licence condition is required. For clarification purposes, the wording ‘each new section’ refers to the capping of an individual cell.

The detailed designs referenced in this condition are in relation to the final cap design and the requirements are outlined in section 8 of the BPEM. These are separate from the ‘basic’ designs of the landfill cap referred to on publication 1323 (page 5) which are required at the cell construction phase, the requirements of which are shown in Appendix 9 of publication 1323 as comprising the types of materials proposed for use and a typical cross-section of proposed landfill cap and that final capping detailed design is that described in Section 8 and associated appendices. This condition is in addition to Condition 6a, which only requires the timing of the capping to be identified, not the exact design.

LI_L7 LI_L18 Cell – construction

A number of submissions have been received in relation to Condition L7. It is acknowledged that these requirements are outlined in 1323 and this makes this explicit in the licence.

LI_L7a LI_L19 Cell – design

A number of submissions identified the potential for delays in the cell design approval process. EPA is committed in publication 1323 (Part B Number 9) to achieve the 20-business-day timeline for the design assessment as specified in the Landfill licensing guidelines, however if the design data does not meet the requirements of Appendix 15 then this may result in delays in the approval process which are out EPA’s control. It is suggested that landfill operators identify the need for new cells as early as possible to allow sufficient buffer time for any delays.

LI_L7c LI_L21 Cell – approval

This condition provides further detail of the existing L7 requirement of publication 1323, which requires that you must not commence construction of a new cell without written EPA approval. EPA has committed in publication 1323 (Part C, Number 15) to review a construction audit report and conduct a licence amendment within 20 business days of receipt of the audit report. If the audit report is, for whatever reason, not up to the standard required by EPA, then it may cause delays with the approval process, which are out of EPA’s control. It is suggested that landfill operators identify the need for new cells as early as possible to allow sufficient buffer time for any delays.

LI_L8 LI_L12 Survey

The wording of this condition will be modified to include other survey methods which are to be approved by EPA. Clause c) will be removed based on feedback received.

LI_L9 LI_L13 Contours

This condition has not always been universally applied to all licences, a situation which is to be rectified going forward.  All active cells are required to produce a pre-settlement contour plan as part of Schedule 1 of their licence which conforms to EPA requirements.

LI_L10 LI_L14 Weighbridge

Only sites installed at municipal landfills located within municipal districts listed in Schedule C of the EP Act require a weighbridge. The landfill levy applies to all wastes that are received at transfer stations and recycling facilities on the landfill premises. Recycled wastes that are levied and then removed from the premises may be eligible for the recycling rebate as per Calculating the landfill levy and recycling rebates (publication 332).

LI_L11 LI_L15 Hotspots (fire)

A number of submissions have been received in relation to Conditions L11–L13. Supporting text to provide clarification on the definition of hotspots and what the appropriate management procedures which are required will be provided in the updated version of publication 1323.

LI_LX LI_L8 Tipping Face

A number of submissions were received in relation to this submission.  As a result the condition will be modified to allow for the short term operation of two tipping faces and the supporting document will reflect this.

LI_LX LI_L7.2 Vermin and Weeds

The control of vermin and weeds is referred to in the BPEM and the condition details required outcomes. This condition would only be applied to a site if there is an existing with weeds and/or vermin. Supporting text will be added to publication 1323 to provide guidance on how compliance can be achieved.

Page last updated on 10 Feb 2017