Clean Fill

​Changes to the legislatio​​n

Clean fill is a category of general waste that is often produced through the excavation of soil and/or construction and demolition activities.  This waste is commonly used as fill material for landscaping, but it has many other uses.  In line with the purposes of the recently enacted Waste and Resource Recovery Act 2022, changes have been made to the regulation of clean fill in order to promote better use of this resource.

On 29 March 2022 amendments to the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (EMPCA) and the Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Waste Management) Regulations 2020, relating to clean fill came into effect.  These amendments achieve three important changes to clean fill regulation:

  1. Clean fill will no longer be exempt from waste regulation; it must now be disposed of in accordance with the legislation.
  2. The definition of clean fill has been expanded to two types: clean fill type 1 (natural materials) and type 2 (construction materials); to better regulate the use of the different types of clean fill.
  3. The Director can issue a declaration specifying the maximum levels of pollutants, dimensions, and proportions of clean fill material; to better control what is disposed of as 'clean fill'.

How clean fill can be disposed of

Section18(2)(a) has been omitted from the Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Waste Management) Regulations 2020.  This means that clean fill will no longer be exempted from waste regulations governing disposal.

As of 29 March 2022 a person must not use land for the disposal of clean fill unless:

(a) They have a relevant authority (such as a permit, environment protection notice, environmental licence or environmental approval) which authorises the disposal of waste on the land;  or

(b) It is disposed of in accordance with an Approved Management Method (AMM) for clean fill.

The Director has approved an AMM for clean fill disposal, in limited circumstances.

Approved Mana​​​gement Method for Clean Fill

The current AMM is intended as a temporary measure until public consultation on more detailed clean fill management can be undertaken.  This AMM will expire on 31 March 2023.

It is intended to allow small-scale and domestic uses of clean fill to continue without the need to apply for a permit or other authority.

  • Up to 100 tonnes of clean fill (type 1 or 2) may be disposed of on a parcel of land within a calendar year.
  • The landowner is responsible for the disposal.  They must ensure that the waste they are receiving is properly classed as clean fill and does not contain any controlled waste (such as asbestos) or exceed maximum pollutant levels.
  • The landowner must make reasonable enquiries about the source of the clean fill and keep a record of clean fill deposited on the land.

Landowners should read the full document carefully before deciding to accept clean fill for disposal.  The AMM can be viewed here:

 Approved Management Method for the Disposal of Clean Fill Type 1 and Type 2 (PDF 482Kb)

When waste that is defined as clean fill is disposed of in accordance with the AMM, the disposal is considered to be compliant with regulation 18(1) of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Waste Management) Regulations 2020.

It is recognized that these are significant changes to the regulation of clean fill disposal in Tasmania.  It is expected that a person's best endeavours will be used to comply with the AMM.

Feedback on the AMM can be provided to the EPA via enquiries@epa.tas.gov.au. Further consultation for a more detailed AMM will occur in due course.

Changes to the d​​efinition of Clean Fill

The previous definition of clean fill in section 3 of EMPCA has been substituted with new definitions for clean fill type 1 and clean fill type 2.  This will allow more specific regulation of clean fill material.  For instance, permits and other regulatory instruments can require different approaches for the disposal or reuse of the different clean fill types.

Currently both types of clean fill may be disposed of in the same way.

To ensure that existing references to clean fill in statutory instruments issued under EMPCA and the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993, continue to have meaning, a transitional provision has been added to Section 107C of EMPCA. This causes a reference to 'clean fill' to be a reference to both 'clean fill type 1' and 'clean fill type 2'.  As permits and other regulatory instruments are renewed, any clean fill conditions will be amended and new conditions may be imposed.

clean fill type 1 means a mixture –

a.     containing natural materials, such as soil, rock, crushed rock, gravel, clay or sand, that are in a raw, unaltered form and that have been excavated from an area of land; and

b.     that does not contain –

      1. an amount, of a pollutant, or pollutants, that is above a level, of the pollutant or pollutants, declared under subsection (3)(a); and
      2. a proportion, of a substance, or substances, that are not within paragraph (a), that is greater than the proportion of the substance, or substances, declared under subsection (3)(b); and
      3. pieces of material that are of dimensions greater than the dimensions declared under subsection (3)(c);

clean fill type 2 means a mixture –

c.     containing any one or more of the following:

      1. bricks, masonry or paving blocks;
      2. concrete or mortar;
      3. bituminised or rubble pavement; and

d.     that does not contain –

      1. an amount, of a pollutant, or pollutants, that is above a level, of the pollutant, or pollutants, declared under subsection (3)(a); and
      2. a proportion, of a substance, or substances, that are not within paragraph (c), that is greater than the proportion of the substance, or substances, declared under subsection (3)(b); and
      3. pieces of material that are of dimensions greater than the dimensions declared under subsection (3)(c);

Declaration of level pollutants for clean fill type 1 and clean fill type 2

Under section 3(3) of EMPCA, the Director can declare a level of pollutants, proportions or dimensions to apply to the definition of either or both clean fill type 1 or type 2.  This is to ensure that what is being disposed of as 'clean fill' does not contain contaminants that may be harmful to the environment.

The Director has made a declaration under this provision - declaring levels of pollutants above which a waste does not meet the definition of clean fill type 1 or clean fill type 2.

The declaration can be viewed here:

 Director Declaration - clean fill pollutant levels (PDF 232Kb)

The declaration is in line with the EPA's advice on the classification and management of contaminated soil​. ​