The EPA has identified a number of ongoing issues with C&D
waste facilities which are licensed (or required to be licensed) in
The safety and environmental issues identified include:
poor screening and inspection processes that fail to properly
remove contaminants from mixed C&D waste (including skip bins)
before loads of waste are processed and sent offsite for re-use;
the negligent handling of waste, including asbestos waste, at
recycling facilities, causing recycled products to become
From a productivity perspective, the EPA is concerned that many
licensed facilities are diverting well under 50% of the C&D
waste they receive from landfill, representing a significant loss
of valuable resources.
What's being proposed
The proposed amendments to the Protection of the Environment
(Waste) Regulation 2014 and Protection of the Environment (General)
Regulation 2009 are intended to ensure the safety of the community,
promote the protection of the environment and maximise resource
recovery within the C&D waste management sector.
The proposed changes are very broad and are aimed at:
improving practices at landfills;
changing processes related to the handling of asbestos
clarifying when transport waste deductions can be claimed;
implementing new operational purpose deductions;
clarifying how the waste levy is applied at resource recovery
improving monitoring at licensed facilities;
improving waste transport processes;
changing the definition of land pollution; and
changing the licensing requirements for some activities.
Improving practices at recycling facilities and landfill
Licensed C&D waste facilities in the metropolitan levy area
will be required to comply with new minimum standards for the
inspection, sorting and recovery of waste from 1 March 2017. In
addition, it will be an offence for any licensed landfill facility
to exhume waste from landfill or send mixed loads of waste offsite
for disposal if it can lawfully accept that waste.
Changing processes related to the handling of asbestos
Requirements for handling, transporting and landfilling of
asbestos, and in particular, the requirement asbestos-contaminated
soils to wet down during transport, will be clarified. Increased
penalties for non-compliance will also be imposed.
Improving monitoring at licensed facilities
Resource recovery facilities licensed for non-thermal treatment
will be required to undertake volumetric surveys (or other more
suitable stocktake procedures) as and when required by the EPA. The
EPA will also have the power to estimate the amount of waste at a
facility if it reasonably suspects that the waste is subject to
mass loss or gain. Changing the definition of land pollution and licensing
requirements for some activities
The land pollution offence will be amended so that it does not
automatically apply to onsite waste disposal (eg. where onsite
contamination cells are proposed as part of in-situ remediation).
In addition, the licensing requirements for facilities:
that receive biosolids or untreated timber;
which produce energy from waste; or
where waste is received from off-site, stored and/or
transferred from one vehicle to another,
will be clarified.
What this means for you
While a number of the proposed reforms will provide much-needed
clarity and increased certainty for the industry, the requirements
relating to waste handling and monitoring processes at D&C
waste facilities will mean operators must undertake a detailed
review of their current practices to ensure compliance. Further,
the requirement that asbestos-contaminated soils be wet down is
likely to mean that material will be considerably more expensive to
dispose of on a per tonne basis because of the increased
The EPA is currently inviting submissions on the consultation
paper until 17 November 2016.
Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide
commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon
as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular
transactions or on matters of interest arising from this bulletin.
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