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.

ACTA was required to provide a formal response to the submissions received by 30 July. As the due date has passed, the 'statutory clock' on this application paused.

Per EPA's works approval assessments (publication 1523.2), "EPA can request further information under section 22 of EP Act. Assessment timeline is 'paused' if applicant does not provide the requested information within the timeframe given by EPA". The date for this works approval assessment has been pushed back until an acceptable application is received.

Community consultation and independent chair report

EPA received 36 submissions relating to this works approval application. You can read them from the supporting documents on this page.

EPA held a public meeting, known as a Section 20B Conference, on 13 June 2019 at the Bannockburn Cultural Centre.

The purpose of the meeting was:

  • for EPA (and Golden Plains Shire Council) to gain a better understanding of community concerns
  • to explain
    • the works approval applications
    • the planning permission applications
    • the assessment process
    • the current status of the applications
  • to identify potential resolutions.

The meeting was independently chaired. This ensured EPA understands the views of the community on this works approval application.

The independent chair has prepared a report. This details community concerns raised in the submissions and at the meeting, with recommended solutions.

Key planning issues were considered at the conference. Golden Plains Shire Council are also consulting on ACTA's planning permit application.

The independent chair's report contains a number of suggestions for the council to consider. As the community conference sits outside the Planning and Environment Act, the council is not legally obliged to consider any suggestions directed to it.

Legally EPA must consider all recommendations directed to it within the conference report by the independent chair. These will be referred to in determining ACTA's works approval application.

You can see presentations and copies of EPA's posters from that evening in the 'supporting documents' section on this page.

Response to the further information request

In response to EPA's 22 Notice request for Further Information of 30 May 2019, ACTA has provided the attached response to the submissions received on the works approval application. The additional requested information in the notice will be made available in the Supporting Documents section of this webpage once it has been received from ACTA and formally accepted by the EPA. It is noted that as with other works approval application documents, EPA neither agrees or disagrees with the information provided by the applicant.

EPA requests further information

EPA has issued ACTA a notice under section 22 of the Environment Protection Act 1970 requiring the company to provide further information. A copy of the notice is available under the Supporting documents section of this page.

The notice requires further information, including:

  • a response to all submissions
  • a thorough and detailed response which satisfies the issues raised in the Country Fire Authority's referral response
  • details of how the proposed facility will comply with policy and guideline requirements for combustible recyclable and waste materials
  • a detailed biosecurity risk assessment and biosecurity management plan
  • a detailed assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from the proposed composting operations
  • amended maps illustrating the full extent of the odour emissions
  • further details of management controls for the waste feedstock being brought onto the site
  • a plan for managing the potential environmental risks in the event of a temporary or permanent shutdown of operations
  • detailed operational procedures
  • a detailed odour management and monitoring plan, covering all potential odour sources, under both normal and upset conditions.

ACTA must provide this information by 6 June 2019. EPA will publish the response on this page.

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.