Suez works approval application

Suez Recycling and Recovery Pty Ltd (Suez) operates a landfill that is licensed to accept municipal waste in Hampton Park, in Melbourne's south east.

Suez has been operating the landfill for more than 20 years, and now needs to relocate their leachate ponds.

The site for the new leachate ponds falls outside of the existing works approval boundary, and is not allowed by the current council planning permit. Prior to construction of the new leachate ponds, Suez will need a works approval, and an updated council planning permit.

The works approval application was accepted on 28 March 2019. It was advertised on 10 April 2019.

VCAT appeal

An application for review of EPA's works approval decision has been lodged with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

VCAT orders were issued in September 2019. Now that this application has been lodged with VCAT, the decision is suspended until the application is withdrawn or the review is determined.

EPA notes the VCAT hearing process is established and controlled by VCAT - EPA does not set the timeframes or requirements for VCAT reviews.

As the matter is now before VCAT, EPA cannot comment on the works approval.

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.

During this consultation period, we may hold public open-house information sessions to explain the works approval process and provide information on the works approval application. 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).

The works approval application proposes moving the landfill operation's leachate ponds to a new location next door to the existing landfill site.

Suez proposes constructing new leachate ponds to the immediate south of the landfill. This part of the site is the furthest from existing residential areas around the landfill.

A planning permit from the City of Casey is also required.

The submission period for this works approval application closed on 8 May 2019. During this time, EPA received 4 submissions, which are available to view in the supporting documents section of this page.

EPA issued Suez Recycling & Recovery Pty Ltd with a Section 22 notice for further information on 11 June 2019. The notice required the application to provide a formal response to the submissions received. Suez provided their response on the 20 June. The response can be viewed in the supporting documents section of this page.

EPA has issued a works approval for the construction of new storage ponds and a treatment plant for leachate at the Hallam Road landfill.

The leachate ponds are proposed to be built next door to the existing landfill, as far as possible from existing residential areas nearby. Planning approval is still required from the City of Casey.

An application for a review of the decision has been lodged with VCAT.

More details can be found in the supporting documents section.