The terms hazardous waste, prescribed waste and controlled waste are used by various Australian environment protection agencies and to all intents and purposes are interchangeable. Tasmania has adopted the terminology of the National Environment Protection (Movement of Controlled Waste between States and Territories) Measure 2004 (Controlled Waste NEPM) which uses the term controlled waste.
Controlled waste is the most hazardous category of waste and includes those wastes that exhibit toxicity, chemical or biological reactivity, environmental persistence, or the ability to bio-accumulate or enter the food chain. These wastes may be produced in a gaseous, liquid or solid state. It is environmentally unacceptable to dispose of them by the same means as we dispose of the more common by-products of our everyday lives.
Controlled waste is defined in the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (EMPCA) and the Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Waste Management) Regulations 2010. Controlled wastes are listed in List 1, Schedule A of the Controlled Waste NEPM and are taken to possess one or more of the characteristics in List 2 unless demonstrated otherwise. The waste classification codes of controlled waste used in Tasmania are based on List 1, Schedule A of the Controlled Waste NEPM but include several other wastes prescribed in the Regulations.
The handling of controlled waste requires approval from the Director, EPA however, it is the responsibility of waste producers, agents acting on the behalf of waste producers and receiving facility operators to accurately classify their wastes for appropriate management options including treatment and disposal. Note that a "producer" may not be the original generator of the waste. The term includes anyone who has possession of waste and wishes to consign it for disposal, treatment, recycling, etc.
Classification and management of contaminated soil (Information Bulletin 105)
The EPA has produced a decision tree and Information Bulletin 105 (outlining the classification and management of contaminated soil) to assist in determining if a waste is a 'controlled waste'.
Information Bulletin 105 defines the criteria used by the EPA for the classification of contaminated soil that requires treatment and/or off-site disposal, and outlines the management of each classification in accordance with the Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Waste Management) Regulations 2010. It is designed for waste producers, consultants, local government, waste transporters and landfill operators who are responsible for determining whether a potentially contaminated soil is suitable to be disposed of at a landfill; and to assist them in assessing alternative options for contaminated soils management and how to make an application for disposal to the EPA.
In 2012 an Advisory Note to IB105 was published to assist in the classification of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and further amendments have been made to IB105 to include per and poly - fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Written advice should be sought from EPA Tasmania if any doubt exists.