ACTA's works approval application

Advanced Composting Technologies of Australasia Pty Ltd (ACTA) has submitted a works approval application to EPA for approval for a static pile composting facility to be located on farmland at Bannockburn. The proposed facility will be located at 607 Shelford-Bannockburn Road, Bannockburn VIC 3331.

The works approval was accepted by EPA on 12 April 2019, and advertised in the Herald Sun, Geelong Advertiser, Ballarat Miner and Golden Plains Times on 17 April 2019.

EPA will be assessing the potential environmental and human health impacts of this proposal over the next three months.

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Submissions can be made by emailing or sent in writing by mail:

EPA Victoria
GPO Box 4395
Melbourne VIC 3001

Advanced Composting Technologies of Australasia Pty Ltd (ACTA) is proposing the development of a static pile composting facility to be located on farmland at Bannockburn.

The proposed facility will be located at 607 Shelford-Bannockburn Road, Bannockburn VIC 3331.

The proposed site is on a farm within the farming zone land. There is a significant buffer of rural land around the site.

ACTA is proposing the facility will accept up to 50,000 m3 of wastes each year including:

  • poultry manure
  • hatchery waste
  • grease trap waste
  • abattoir waste

and produce up to 36,400 m3 of pasteurised product per year.

Composting has many environmental benefits and can help reduce waste going to landfill. However, composting must be undertaken safely to produce a fully pasteurised product to prevent the spread of pathogens and weeds and reduce biosecurity risks.

The static pile process uses a proprietary activator product that is added to enhance the composting process. It does not involve any turning of the compost once it is formed into a pile.

A works approval is a statutory approval issued by EPA. It permits, subject to certain conditions, the construction of a plant (such as an industrial facility), installation of equipment or modification of a process.

Approval is required for industrial and waste management works that may result in any of the following:

  • discharge of waste into the environment (air, water or land)
  • an increase in, or alteration to, an existing discharge
  • a change in the way waste is treated or stored.

Our works approval process is designed to ensure the best and most cost-effective environmental outcomes on projects are achieved. Without works approvals there is an increased risk of industrial projects causing pollution and requiring expensive retrofitting. Works approvals are an opportunity to save energy and water, and to reduce waste at the project design stage, creating value for a business.

Public participation is an important principle of the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the works approval process. Accordingly, we invite the public to comment on works approval applications and some types of licence applications over a set consultation period.

We consider all such comments during our assessment of these applications. Applications are also referred to other relevant agencies for their review and advice.

The works approval process is designed to identify any community concerns early on and allow prompt resolution. If comments are received from any third parties, we give applicants an opportunity to address the concerns raised. We may also convene a conference of the parties to assist in resolving those concerns.

We complete our assessment taking into account our own technical appraisals, referral agency responses, public comments received and any applicant responses. We will then decide whether to issue a works approval and whether to attach any conditions to the approval.

The Environment Protection Act requires us to make a decision on works approval applications within four months of receiving a complete application, although we aim to complete our determination in three months. We may request further information from the applicant during the process or require an extension of time to complete the assessment.

If an appeal, by the applicant or affected third parties, is made against a works approval decision and/or any conditions attached to a works approval, the appeal will be heard by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

When a works approval has been issued, the applicant must construct the works in accordance with the approved plans and any conditions (which include a completion date for all works). When the works are complete, the applicant must contact EPA to arrange an inspection of them.

In most cases, a licence will then be required for operation of the works. Where appropriate, we will issue a commissioning approval before the licence, to allow startup and testing of initial operations and to confirm compliance with the works approval.

Further information on works approvals and EPA’s works approval process can be found in EPA works approvals (publication 1523).

EPA has produced a guideline for composting facilities: Designing, constructing and operating composting facilities (EPA publication 1588).

Compost standards and specifications are also documented in the voluntary Australian Standard AS 4454-2012, Composts, soil conditioners and mulches. This was produced with input from EPA and a range of government and industry representatives.