The City of Greater Bendigo commissioned an audit to be undertaken to consider the potential environmental impacts of the Eaglehawk Landfill and Transfer Station on the immediate surrounding area. The audit, conducted in accordance with Section 53V of the Environment Protection Act 1970, was in response to the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) guidelines Best Practice Environmental Management – Siting, design, protection, operation and rehabilitation of landfills 2015, which require Councils to carefully consider any potential offsite environmental impacts of a landfill before approving new uses or development within a landfill buffer area (for Eaglehawk Landfill and Transfer Station this is 500 metres).
An audit can be undertaken by an individual landowner to support a development application, but due to the difficulty and expense of preparing an audit, the City decided it would instead prepare one for the entire buffer area and an EPA accredited auditor was engaged to review the potential impacts of gas migration, odour, dust and noise.
The audit found that:
- The risk of landfill gas migration is low and can be managed through building techniques and regular monitoring of gas at the landfill.
- There is a risk of odour in some areas close to the transfer station.
- Dust and noise are not causing significant risks to properties within the buffer area.
The audit provided recommendations for new developments to minimise any potential impacts of the landfill. These recommendations include introducing planning controls within 500m of the landfill site to manage any potential risk of landfill gas migration, and within 250m of the transfer station to manage any off-site odour impacts.
Section 53V Audit of Risk of Harm - Landfill Buffer Eaglehawk Landfill 191-193 Upper California Gully Road, Eaglehawk, Victoria (prepared by consultancy Environmental Resources Management in 2019)
Landfill gas protection measures user guide (prepared by consultancy BGL Nominees Pty Limited in 2023)
Frequently asked questions
Even when landfills and transfer stations are operating in accordance with all relevant obligations, offsite impacts can occur. The landfill is actively managed under strict licence conditions, including the management of waste to reduce odour, regular gas monitoring and extraction and dust suppressant measures.
Gas extracted onsite is used to power a generation plant to feed the electricity into the grid. As the Eaglehawk Landfill is reaching capacity, much of the waste received is transported outside of the municipality, and the transfer of this waste is undertaken in a shed to minimise odour impacts.
Whilst the landfill is close to capacity and is scheduled to stop accepting new waste in the near future, it is expected that transfer station operations will continue to operate on the site.
Once closed, the City will manage the rehabilitation of the landfill, including continued monitoring of the site, as decomposition can generate landfill gas for more than 30 years after a landfill stops accepting new waste.
More information on the future use of the site can be found on the City’s circular economy webpage
The Department of Transport and Planning, on behalf of the Minister for Planning, requires residential properties within 500 metres of the landfill site boundary be rezoned to the Neighbourhood Residential Zone with a specific schedule applied to make it clear to users of the planning scheme that the properties may be impacted by the proximity of the landfill and transfer station.
The Neighbourhood Residential Zone is still a residential zone and applies to areas which are expected to have more limited change based on considerations such as environmental constraints. The maximum building height in a Neighbourhood Residential Zone is 9 metres (2 storeys) which is consistent with the current pattern of development in the area.
The BAO1 contains requirements to address potential risks posed by landfill gas migration.
Under the BAO1, a planning permit would be required if you want to:
- Subdivide the land; or
- Construct a building structure that is enclosed, or that involves ground disturbance; or
- Carry out works, including demolition of a building, that involves ground disturbance.
If you are constructing an enclosed building, or undertaking works that involve ground disturbance, your planning permit application may need to include details of gas protection measures to be installed and verified, to prevent landfill gas accumulating.
More information about how to work out whether protection measures would be required, along with guidance on the types of measures that are appropriate and the types of professionals who are qualified to help you meet the requirements can be found in the Landfill gas protection measures user guide.
The BAO2 contains restrictions to limit sensitive uses within 250m of the transfer station activities due to the potential for odour impacts. It limits development on these sites to a single dwelling, and prohibits the use of the land for other sensitive uses.
The adopted Amendment will be submitted to the Minister for Planning. If approved, the Greater Bendigo Planning Scheme will be updated and any planning permit applications will be considered against the new policy. In the meantime, any planning permits issued will have conditions attached that require development to respond to the recommendations of the audit.