Clean fill, spoil, dirt, soil, sand and gravel are commonly used to describe material on a site. When that material leaves a site, it is considered waste.
NSW EPA and Council regularly receive reports of waste (fill) being delivered to unsuspecting property owners with promises that it is clean and harmless, only to find that it is contaminated with building and demolition waste, general rubbish, chemicals, heavy metals or even asbestos.
Waste can only be taken to, and accepted at, a waste facility which is lawfully authorised to receive, re-use and/or dispose of that classification or type of waste. To help waste generators classify the wastes they produce, NSW EPA has developed Waste Classification Guidelines.
As waste classification does not assess the suitability of waste material for application to land, NSW EPA have developed Resource Recovery Orders and Resource Recovery Exemptions to allow some wastes to be beneficially and safely re-used independent of the usual NSW laws that control applying waste to land. The waste must be genuine, fit-for-purpose, and cause no harm to the environment or human health.
Virgin Natural Excavated Material (VENM) is natural material (such as clay, gravel, sand, soil or rock fines) that has been excavated or quarried from areas that are not contaminated with manufactured chemicals, or with process residues as a result of industrial, commercial, mining or agricultural activities, and does not contain any sulfidic ores or soils or any other waste.
Generators of VENM must complete the NSW EPA VENM Certificate (PDF) to receivers.
Where an excavated material cannot be classified as VENM, it may be eligible for reuse under the excavated natural material order and exemption
Resource Recovery Orders (for generators and processors of the waste material)
Resource recovery orders include conditions which generators and processors of waste must meet to supply the waste material for the purposes described above. These conditions may include material specifications, processing specifications, record-keeping, reporting and other requirements. All resource recovery orders are made under clause 93 of the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2014.
Resource Recovery Exemptions (for receivers of the waste material)
Resource recovery exemptions contain the conditions which receivers must meet to use waste for the purposes described above. These conditions may include requirements on how to re-use or apply the waste, as well as record-keeping, reporting and other requirements. All resource recovery exemptions are made under clauses 91 and 92 of the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2014.
A Section 143 notice (PDF) should accompany all material transported to locations other than a licensed landfill to demonstrate that responsibility for the material has lawfully been transferred from the generator, via the transporter to the receiver.
Resource recovery orders and exemptions do not release you from the relevant planning consent requirements. If you wish to use an order or exemption, it is your responsibility to seek any necessary development consents from Council.
Any virgin excavated natural material or waste-derived fill material subject to a resource recovery exemption must be accompanied by documentation as to the material's compliance and must be provided to Council on request. Applicants should engage a suitably qualified environmental consultant to prepare a Resource Recovery Order/Exemption. Visit the How to get Development, Building and Environmental Health Advice page for more information.