Home News Carbon Tax National Pollutant Inventory (NPI)Works Approvals Licences Flexo Printing Heatset Printing AUSPLUME and AERMOD Waste Reduction Services Downloads Enquiry Form Email Us

EPA Works Approvals and Licences - Compliance with Local Authorities

For confidential assistance with your company's Works Approval Application please email us.

Q: What is a Works Approval?

"A Works approval permits works to be undertaken which will result in a discharge of waste to the environment or an increase / alteration to an existing discharge"....... EPA (Review) Act 1984.

Q: Do we need one?

There are "exemption" tables available which list the emission requirements for each type of industry, setting the limiting rates. If you compare your proposed operation with this document - Exemptions "Environment Protection (Scheduled Premises and Exemptions) Regulations 2007" available from the EPA, it will spell out the requirements. It should be noted that "emissions" can mean discharges to air, sewer, stormwater, land and even noise. These regulations were updated 1st July 2007.

Many industries are not specifically named in these regulations and we recommend consultation with EPA to find out where your company stands. For confidential assistance in all stages of discussion with EPA, please email us.

Q: If we need one, how long does it take and what does it cost?

Previously, from the time that the EPA accepted your full application they had a statutory period of 4 months to deliver or reject your Works Approval.

Recently, changes were made to this procedure, resulting in a totally new format for the application. This has simplified the process of assessment and has considerably reduced the processing timeline. However, the 21 day advertising period remains in place and provided that there are no public objections or further queries by the Authorities involved (such as local Council, Water Authorities etc.), the assessment of the application can commence.

A Works Approval application must be accompanied by the appropriate fee - this is dependant on the cost of the works and has recently been calculated on the basis of 1% of this cost. (e.g. for works costing $1 million, the EPA fee would be $10,000). The cost of works is calculated on the basis of the specific areas causing emissions. It does not include civil works, buildings, and processes which do not contribute to the emissions from the site. This fee is limited to a maximum of 4,500 fee units, with the current fee unit (July 2013) of $12.84, this would total $57,780.00. The fee unit is indexed annually on the 1st of July.

The equipment should not be installed until the approval has been obtained. The system should then be built to comply with the specifications in the approval documentation, and it is important to ensure that what has been requested is precisely what will be built in the specified location. The next step is for EPA to inspect the installation and if all requirements are met, a draft licence will then be issued.

Q: Can we engineer the process to make it exempt?

If you need to get a licence, apart from the cost of the works approval application, on-going annual fees and the delay in project completion, the EPA licence document will also include requirements for an Annual Performance Statement, monitoring, etc. It makes sense to consider addressing these aspects before beginning the proposal. If your process emits more than the prescribed limit it may still be possible to examine methods of reduction, either by managerial, design, formulation or engineering means. You may be able to avoid the need for licensing as well as reduce waste emissions, a win/win situation with considerable cost and time savings to your company. It is also possible that a process or upgrade may be exempt under some circumstances. Contact us for a free appraisal of your situation.

Q: How do we find out if our emissions exceed the limit?

In some cases (such as solvent emissions to air from printing, spray painting, de-greasing, dip and curtain coating) these can be calculated from production usage and purchases of raw materials. We offer a spreadsheet service to assist with this.

If you are a flexographic or gravure printer, we have a ready-made spreadsheet available for Victoria on our downloads page (ZIP format).

If the emissions cannot be calculated (eg. if there are reaction/combustion products or odours involved), we can provide exhaust Stack Testing facilities (NATA approved) to determine the emission inventory for your site. Part of the Approval process requires an estimation of the effect at ground level caused by the factory stack emissions. For this, a mathematical model, currently AUSPLUME and at some stage in 2014, AERMOD will be used. This is based on your factory layout, emission rates and the local meteorology file. We have full facilities for these modelling programs.

Q: Where can we build and how far must we be from residential areas?

Another EPA publication - Buffer Distances "Recommended Buffer Distances for Industrial Residual Air Emissions" lists the minimum recommended distances of each industry from "sensitive" locations such as residential zones, hospitals, schools, caravan parks and similar public amenities. This should be carefully considered prior to purchasing or renting a new property.