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Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Waste and recycling

Improving immobilisation of high-risk contaminants

The Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2014 strengthens the current immobilisation approval framework. It does this by clearly identifying the responsibilities of generators and processors of immobilised waste, including recipient landfills.

The new provisions include the requirement for generators or processors of waste that is subject to an immobilised contaminants approval (generally hazardous waste) to issue a certificate confirming the waste has been treated in accordance with EPA requirements for lawful re-use or disposal. This certificate is known as a designated waste certificate and will confirm the waste has been classified in accordance with an 'immobilised contaminants approval'.

The requirements of a receiving facility will now be provided in a separate notice, known as an immobilisation order, issued to a receiving waste facility or published in the Government Gazette.

What problem led to the change?

Previous provisions that applied to the immobilisation of contaminants did not clearly identify the classification of the waste or what regulatory requirements applied to each of the parties involved in the generation, processing and disposal of waste subject to an immobilisations approval.

How will this change affect waste facilities?

The revised provisions clarify what treatment must be undertaken to reclassify waste under an immobilised contaminants approval to ensure it is suitable for landfill disposal or other re-use.

Additionally, the designated waste certificate will provide confidence to the receiving waste facility and the community that waste that is the subject of an immobilised contaminants approval has been treated in accordance with the EPA's immobilisation requirements.

The immobilisation order issued to waste facilities will clearly outline the requirements that need to be followed relating to the storage, disposal or use of the waste subject to an immobilised contaminants approval.

Does this affect current immobilisation approvals?

No. All requirements within current immobilisation approvals will continue to remain in force until such time as they are revoked or re-made under the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2014.

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Page last updated: 14 January 2015