A process by which one material takes up and retains another. The substance taken up (absorbed) goes into solution in the other material.

Activated carbon

A highly adsorbent form of carbon used to remove odours and toxic substances from gaseous emissions and to remove dissolved organic matter from wastewater.

Activated sludge

Sludge that has been aerated and subjected to bacterial action; used to speed the breakdown of organic matter in raw sewage during secondary waste treatment.


The adhesion of molecules to the surfaces of solids or liquids with which they are in contact. Many chemicals adsorb to sediment particles and are transported by these particles.


Living, active, or occurring only in the presence of oxygen. For instance, soil micro-organisms that degrade sewage effluent from septic systems need oxygen in order to function.


A device that includes an auxilliary fuel burner and combustion chamber to incinerate combustible air contaminants.


When the buildup of sediment raises the level of a streambed.


An area where emitted pollutants may interact or increase in concentration. The delineation of an airshed may be influenced by topographic features such as a land:water interface.


An organochlorine pesticide previously used for termite control. Can be degraded to dieldrin by oxidation in soils.


Aquatic, non-flowering plants that lack roots and use light energy to convert inorganic nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus into organic matter by photosynthesis. An algal bloom can occur when excessive nutrient levels and other water conditions enable the algae to reproduce rapidly.


The current existence of healthy, pleasant and agreeable community surroundings.

Ammonium nitrate

Common nitrogen-containing chemical used in explosives and agricultural and domestic fertilisers.


Living or active in the absence of oxygen. Some bacteria function only in the absence of free oxygen.


Lacking oxygen.


It is a requirement that EPA written approval under section 17K of the Pollution Control Act 1970 be sought before construction begins on works related to an industry that is scheduled under the Clean Air Act or Noise Control Act or as required by section 19 of the Clean Waters Act. Approval fees are based on the estimated costs of development.


The farming of fresh, saltwater fish, crustaceans or aquatic plants in land-based ponds.

Aqueous waste

Liquid waste that is predominantly water-based and generally contains material that floats, settles or is suspended, for example oil­water mixtures, paint washings or spent acids.


A saturated permeable geologic unit that can transmit significant quantities of water under ordinary hydraulic gradients.

Background noise

The ambient noise in the absence of the sound under investigation and all other extraneous sounds.

Bag filter

Filtering apparatus with porous cloth or felt bags through which dust­laden gases are sent, leaving the dust on the inner surfaces of the bags.

Benthic organisms

Organisms that live in or on the bottom of a body of water.

Best management practices (BMPs)

Practices that have been developed to prevent or minimise pollution and to protect the environment. They are often applied to non­point sources of pollution where there is a need to define a range of practices that need to be applied to prevent degradation of the environment. These practices may be promoted by means of guidelines or codes of practice.


The process by which a contaminant accumulates in the tissues of an individual organism. For example, certain chemicals in food eaten by a fish tend to accumulate in its liver and other tissues.


A test procedure that measures the response of living plants, animals or tissues to a sample.

Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)

The quantity of oxygen used in the biochemical oxidation of organic matter. Usually expressed in mg/L. If the BOD is high, the dissolved oxygen levels in the water will be low.


The conversion of organic compounds into simpler compounds through biochemical activity.


The particulate matter, mainly organic, removed during sewage treatment (previously known as sewage sludge).


The animals and plants that live in a particular location or region.


The boundary of a development site is the edge of the area to which a development application applies. This may be the title or allotment boundary or some other boundary as specified in the development application.

Buffer zone

An area of land set aside to minimise the impacts of land uses on each other. Waste material arising as a result of new building construction, refurbishment or demolition of existing buildings or structures. Materials include bricks, tiles, concrete, steel, glass, plastics and other products generally used in the building industry. Soil or naturally occurring excavated material 'clean fill' in connection with construction activities is also classified as building and demolition waste.

Building application

Building applications to council usually include a plan and elevation drawings of the proposed structure/s, together with detailed specifications indicating construction materials and design.


An earthwork or wall surrounding a tank or tanks to retain the contents in case the tank fractures.


Capable of causing cancer.

CARR Audit

The EPA process of Compliance Audit and Regulatory Review.


A valley defined naturally by the watershed line along the tops of the ridges that separate it from a neighbouring catchment. The area within this watershed line is the catchment area from which rainfall flows into a river or reservoir.

Catchment management

The coordinated and balanced use of natural resources within a water catchment to achieve sustainability. These resources comprise land, water, vegetation and soils. In New South Wales, catchment management relies on landholders, Local Government and the State Government working together in consultation and in a less regulated relationship.


An earthen compartment at a landfill into which solid or liquid wastes are discharged and covered. The use of cells minimises the problems of litter, vermin and leachate formation.

Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD)

The quantity of oxygen used to oxidise matter. Expressed in mg/L.


An organochlorine pesticide previously used for general ant and termite control.

Coliform bacteria

Types of bacteria that are coil or helix shaped. Faecal coliform bacteria are those coliform bacteria that are found in the intestinal tracts of mammals. The presence of high numbers of faecal coliforms in a water body can indicate the release of untreated wastewater and/or the presence of animals, and may indicate the presence of pathogens.

Commercial waste

Waste material generated by commercial establishments such as office buildings, stores, markets, theatres, hotels and warehouses that is non-hazardous.


The EPA's corporate plan uses the term 'community' in its broadest sense to include all levels of Government, industry, special interest groups and the general public.

Compliance audit

Assessing compliance with statutory requirements administered by the EPA.


A relatively stable mixture of decomposed organic waste materials, generally used to fertilise and condition the soil.


The breakdown of organic matter by microbial action.

Conditional consent/approval

Approval by a consent authority subject to one or more conditions that are binding on the developer.

Consent authorities

In New South Wales, Local Government is generally the consent authority for development proposals.

Construction waste

Solid waste material discarded from construction sites, not including hazardous or biodegradable material.


A substance that is not naturally present in the environment or that is present in unnatural concentrations or amounts, and which can (in sufficient concentration) adversely alter an environment.

Controlled landfill

A landfill that receives (under EPA approved conditions), compacts and covers with approved material, the following: household, industrial and commercial wastes, but not liquid waste, radioactive waste, flammable liquids, petroleum or chemical plant sludge, arsenic, cyanide, sulfide, chlorinated hydrocarbons, acids or alkalis.

Corporate plan

A plan that expresses the purpose of an organisation, defines the outcomes and strategies for achieving that purpose and provides a framework for measuring the organisation's success.

Cover material

Clean excavated material or other approved material used to cover compacted waste in a landfill. It is of a consistency that would not hinder compaction and is free of organic materials that would attract vermin.


Glass that is crushed or broken into small pieces for re­use in the glassmaking process. The glass industry normally requires cullet to be colour sorted.


Dissolved air flotation

Demolition waste

Waste materials produced from the destructon of buldings, roads and footpaths, not including biodegradable material or hazardous waste.

Designated development

Schedule 3 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 1980 provides a list of activities identified as designated developments. These have a significant environmental impact, and therefore any development application for them must be accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

Development application

A formal application by a developer to a consent authority for a permit to construct and operate a facility or plant, undertake land subdivision and housing construction, or other major works.

Development Control Plan (DCP)

The detailed requirements for the control of development are generally contained in a DCP. DCPs explain how the development application is to be lodged and also what the specific requirements are for specific components of a development. For example, it may stipulate requirements for a soil and water management plan, landscaping, building materials or separation distance.


An organochlorine pesticide previously used for termite control.


The destruction of infectious agents such as bacteria or viruses. Most wastewater treatment plants use chlorine for disinfection.

Dissolved oxygen

Oxygen that is present (dissolved) in water and therefore available for fish and other aquatic animals to use. Wastewater often contains oxygen demanding substances that can consume dissolved oxygen if discharged into the environment without treatment.


Purifying or separating liquids through boiling. The vapour condenses to pure liquid, and contaminants normally remain in a concentrated residue.


Any physical digging into the bottom of a water body.

Ecological risk assessment

A process that evaluates the likelihood of adverse ecological effects that result from exposure to one or more environmental pollutants.

Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD)

Development that improves the quality of life, both now and in the future, in a way that maintains the ecological processes on which life depends.

Economic evaluation

Assessment of the costs and benefits, including the distributional impacts, of environmental programs.

Economic instruments

Procedures that affect the costs and benefits of alternative actions open to consumers and producers, with the effect of influencing behaviour in a way that is normally favourable to the environment.


Any system in which there is interdependence of and interaction between living organisms and their immediate physical, chemical and biological environment.


The liquid flowing out of a facility or household into the atmosphere, a water body or sewer system.


Environmental Impact Statement, a document that discusses the likely significant impacts of a proposal, ways to lessen the impacts, and alternatives to the proposal.

Electrostatic precipitator

An air pollution control device that imparts an electrical charge to particles in the gas stream, causing them to collect on an electrode.

Energy recovery

Resource recovery in which all or part of the waste materials going into a recovery facility are burned to produce energy for heating or cooling, or electricity.


The Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991 sets out a meaning of 'environment' as follows:

Components of the earth, including:

(a) land, air and water; and
(b) any layer of the atmosphere; and
(c) any organic or inorganic matter and any living organism; and
(d) human­made or modified structures and areas, including interacting natural ecosystems that include components referred to in (a)­(c).

Environment improvement plan

A plan that details strategies to protect and improve the environment within an EPA region, including a current status report and an action plan targeting significant issues.

Environmental audit

A management tool to evaluate how well an organisation is performing environmentally.

Environmental Impact Assessment

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a component of the planning process that is applied to development proposals that have the potential to cause significant impacts on the environment. As part of the process, an EIS must be prepared and publicly exhibited to allow the consent authority to take into account public comments.

Environmental indicator

A measure to identify the presence or condition of a phenomenon that is affecting the environment. A combination of indicators and trend analysis provides a general picture of the overall quality of the environment.

Environmental values

The values placed by society on environmental goods or services (including recreational, community and aesthetic).


The NSW Environment Protection Authority.


Wearing away of rock or soil by the gradual detachment of soil or rock fragments by water, wind, ice and other mechanical and chemical forces.


A confined coastal water body where fresh and salt waters meet and tides are experienced.


Describes a water body that has built up excess nutrients, so that excess plant growth can occur.


A collective term for the processes of evaporation and plant transpiration by which water is returned to the atmosphere.

Extractable organics

Priority pollutants are generally divided into groups based on the laboratory procedure used to separate them from the sample and identify them. These groups are metals, volatile organic compounds, acid extractable organic compounds, base and neutral extractable organic compounds, and pesticides, including PCBs. The extractable organics are the organic priority pollutants identified through the acid base and neutral extraction procedures


A collective term for the animal life in an ecosystem.


Aggregation of small suspended particles into a loose mass caused by ionic changes or changes in solubility.


A collective term for the plant life in an ecosystem.


A container of coarse wire netting used to hold rocks and stones in position to stabilise earthworks.


All refuse other than trade waste and effluent. Garbage is conventionally thought of as the organic waste materials, usually food wastes, that decompose and putrefy.

Green waste

Organic putrescible material including foodstuffs, grass and wood as specified in the National Waste Classification System.


Water that is located below the surface of the land.

Hazardous wastes

Any solid, liquid or gaseous substance that, because of its source or measurable characteristics, is classified under State or Federal law as hazardous and subject to special handling, shipping, storage and disposal requirements.


The tanks, screens and other equipment through which sewage passes before it enters a treatment plant's main treatment process.


A substance used to destroy or inhibit growth of vegetation.

Hydrological cycle

The continual cycling of water between the land, the sea, and the atmosphere through evaporation, condensation, precipitation, absorption into the soil, and stream runoff.


Difficult to penetrate easily.

Impingement baffle

A surface used to separate particles or substances from a carrier stream such as air or water. Used in applications such as slats in a sedimentation structure to slow flow and increase sedimentation; or gauze baffles in charcoal chicken or other shops to separate vapours or particles from air.


Native to a particular region or environment.

Industrial waste

Waste material generated by industrial or manufacturing processes, which does not include hazardous waste or biodegradable material.

Inert waste

Waste that does not undergo physical, chemical or biological transformations. This class of waste includes building (demolition) wastes, gravel, stone and soil. Inert waste is distinct from and does not include any biodegradable waste, hazardous waste and green waste (garden waste, trees and leaves).

Inflow and infiltration

Excess water that enters a sewer system. Since a sewer system can handle only a certain amount of wastewater at one time, excess flow can trigger overflow of raw wastewater. Inflow refers to water that unnecessarily flows into the system, for example, from household roof drains. Infiltration is water that seeps into the system through cracks and gaps in the pipes. Typically, inflow and infiltration are clean water not needing treatment.

Integrated site management

Control of all aspects of a development to minimise the impact of that development on the site and the surrounding development.

Intergenerational equity

Concept meaning that the present generation needs to ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations.


Between or among media. A treatment method that transfers a volatile organic compound from wastewater to the air allows an intermedia transfer of the contaminant.

Land and Environment Court (NSW)

A court created by the NSW Land and Environment Court Act 1979, for the purpose of hearing appeals against public authority decisions on development applications and other matters relating to pollution control, licensing and heritage conservation.

Land degradation

The decline in the quality of the land and its resources, commonly but not exclusively caused by inappropriate human usage. It includes soil degradation and the deterioration of natural vegetation, landscapes and water resources.


An engineering method of disposing of waste on land in an environmentally acceptable manner. Waste is compacted to the smallest practicable volume and covered with earth at the end of each working day.

Landfill gas

Gaseous emissions from the anaerobic decomposition of waste.


Liquid that has percolated through or drained from waste and that has extracted from it dissolved and/or suspended materials.


A measure of the equivalent continuous noise level from a site in energy terms over a specified period.


A Pollution Control Licence is issued pursuant to section 17D of the Pollution Control Act 1970 on premises scheduled or prescribed by the legislation. Licensing remains the main instrument for implementing point source pollution control, reduction and remediation programs. A licence is renewable annually and is subject to a fee calculated on the basis of the nature and size of the operation.


Solid waste that has been carelessly discarded and is outside the collection system.


An instrument used to collect water flowing through the vadose zone or unsaturated zone in the soil.

Load­based licensing system

A 'polluter­pays' charging system based on actual releases or emissions of pollutants, and providing an economic incentive for the reduction of pollutants discharged into the environment.

Local Environmental Plan (LEP)

LEPs set out the land use zoning for a Local Government Area. LEPs outline the permitted and prohibited uses of each zone as well as setting standards for certain aspects of land use.

Make-up water

Water with which a pesticide concentrate is mixed in order to reach the concentration required for use.

Material recovery

A form of resource recovery in which the emphasis is on separating and processing waste materials.

Medical waste

Any waste material consisting of body parts, syringes, surgical equipment, vessels containing liquid body substances or cultures. Cytotoxic materials, animal carcasses and veterinary equipment are also in this category.


All chemical processes occurring within an organism, including both synthesis and breakdown of organic materials.


Elements that normally conduct electricity easily and whose resistance to electricity increases with increasing temperature. Certain metals, such as mercury, lead, nickel, zinc and cadmium, are of environmental concern because they are released to the environment in unnatural amounts by human activity. They are generally toxic to life at low concentrations. Since metals are elements, they do not break down in the environment over time.

Methane (CH4)

An explosive, odourless and colourless gas produced in a landfill by putrescible waste undergoing anaerobic decomposition.


Minute organisms, such as bacteria, that are not visible or barely visible to the unaided eye.


To systematically and repeatedly measure a parameter in order to track changes.

Nephloid layer

A cloudy or turbid water layer in which light is scattered and absorbed by suspended particles.


A general formula referring to any of the nitrogen oxides (for example, nitrous oxide - N2O).

Non-filtrable residue

The undissolved fraction that does not pass through a standard filter. Also known as suspended solids.

Non­point source

A term for pollution that does not originate from a unique point (for example, a chimney or pipe) but is emitted from multiple small sources spread over a considerable area (for example, urban runoff, or road traffic noise).


An EPA notice is a statutory instrument served on a person, for example, the occupier of premises under legislation administered by the EPA. Examples of notices issued include notices to require the recipient to provide information, to remedy an environmental problem, to require works to be carried out, or to place restrictions on the operation of a premises (such as limiting the times of its operation).


Essential chemicals needed by plants or animals for growth. Excessive amounts of nutrients can lead to degradation of water quality and the growth of excessive numbers of algae. Some nutrients can be toxic at high concentrations.


Material of any nature that overlies a deposit of useful materials, ores, or coal, especially those deposits that are mined from the surface by open cuts.

Oxygen-demanding materials

Materials such as food waste and dead plant and animal tissue that use up dissolved oxygen in the water when they are degraded through chemical or biological processes. Biological oxygen demand is a measure of how much oxygen demand a substance has.

Packaged treatment plant

Prefabricated units built to an acceptable engineering standard for treating domestic sewage using the extended aeration process.


Polycyclic (polynuclear) aromatic hydrocarbons. A class of complex organic compounds, some of which are persistent and cancer causing. These compounds are formed from the combustion of organic material and are ubiquitous in the environment. PAHs are commonly formed by forest fires and by the combustion of petrol. They often reach the environment through atmospheric fallout and highway runoff.


A quantifiable or measurable characteristic of something.

Particulate matter

Airborne matter consisting of solid and liquid particles and aerosols or suspensions of fine particles.


A disease­causing agent, especially a virus, bacterium or fungus.


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a group of manufactured chemicals, including about 70 different but closely related compounds made up of carbon, hydrogen and chlorine. If released to the environment, they persist for long periods of time and can increase in concentration as they pass up the food chain because they are not water soluble. They were used in electrical transformers and capacitors because of their electrical properties and stability.


To pass through a permeable substance, for example, septic effluent percolates through soil.

Performance indicator

A statement that defines how the success of a program is to be measured and the criteria to be used in judging success.


A general term used to describe any substance (usually chemical) used to destroy or control organisms (pests); includes herbicides, insecticides, algicides, fungicides and others.


A logarithmic scale used to measure acidity (low pH) or alkalinity (high pH).


Aromatic organic alcohols, acidic and often toxic.


Minute plants that use light to make food from carbon dioxide.


Small plants and animals that are suspended in the water and either drift with the currents or swim weakly.

Point source

A term for pollution that originates from a unique point (for example, a chimney or pipe).


Any direct or indirect alteration of the physical, chemical, thermal, biological or radioactive properties of any part of the environment by discharging, emitting or depositing wastes or substances that adversely affect beneficial use, or that cause a condition that is hazardous or potentially hazardous to public health, safety or welfare or the condition of flora and fauna.

Pollution Reduction Programs (PRPs)

Pollution Reduction Programs (PRPs) can be required as a condition of the operating licence or, possibly, as a condition of other works approval. Plans can define the capital works to be installed, new pollution control equipment, process changes, site rehabilitation or other measures to be introduced within the period of the plan to correct nominated environmental problems.


A condition in which water stands in a depression, forming a puddle or pond.

Potable water

Water suitable for drinking.

Precautionary Principle

If there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation.


The initial treatment of wastewater to remove contaminants before discharge into waste treatment systems.

Primary treatment

A wastewater treatment method that uses settling, skimming, and chlorination to remove solids, floating materials, and pathogens from wastewater.


Containing organic matter that is liable to putrefaction, that is, rapid degradation by micro­organisms. Examples are materials containing food, offal and animals.


A resource recovery method involving the collection and processing of a waste product for use as a raw material in the manufacturing of the same product or a similar one.

Regional Environmental Improvement Plan (REIP)

A plan that details strategies to protect and improve the environment within an EPA region, including a current status report and an action plan targeting significant issues.

Regulatory controls

Controls issued on an enterprise for the purposes of implementing statutory requirements administered by the EPA. These include Approvals, Licences, Notices and Certificates of Registration.

Renewable resources

Resources capable of being totally replaced through natural processes.

Resource recovery

The extraction and use of materials or energy from the waste stream. Examples are:

metals extraction and re­use as raw materials for the manufacture of new products incineration of waste and recovery of the heat produced for direct use or for steam/electricity generation.


The metabolic processes by which an organism takes in and uses oxygen and releases carbon dioxide and other waste products.


A dilute solution of chemical resulting from washing the container and equipment with water.


Pertaining to the banks of streams, lakes, or tidewater.

Scheduled premises

A scheduled premises is a premises that has been identified in a Schedule of either the Clean Air Act 1961 or the Noise Control Act 1975.


A device that uses a liquid spray to remove gaseous or aerosol pollutants from an air stream. The gases are removed either by absorption or chemical reaction. Solid and liquid particulates are removed through contact with the spray. Scrubbers are used for both measuring and controlling of pollution.

Secondary treatment

A wastewater treatment method that usually involves adding biological treatment to the settling, skimming, and disinfection provided by primary treatment.


Material suspended in or settling to the bottom of a liquid, such as sand and mud.

Sedimentation tanks

Holding areas for wastewater where floating wastes are skimmed off and settled solids are pumped out for disposal.

Separation distances

The distance between the point of generation of an environmental impact and a receptor sensitive to that impact. It may be used to specify the width of a buffer zone.


The sludge produced by individual on-site wastewater disposal systems, principally septic tanks.

Septic tank

An enclosure that stores and processes wastes where no sewer system exists, as in rural areas or on boats. Bacteria decompose the organic matter anaerobically into sludge, which is pumped off periodically.


The fluid discharged from medical, domestic and industrial sanitary appliances.


An underground pipe or open channel in a sewage system for carrying water or sewage to a treatment system before disposal.


The entire system of sewage collection, treatment and disposal.


The process by which a river, lake, or other water body becomes clogged with fine sediment.


Semi-liquid waste that is the residue from the treatment of sewage or other industrial process.

Soil permeability

The ease with which gases, liquids or plant roots penetrate through or pass through a layer of soil.


A liquid that readily dissolves another substance.

Source separation

The setting aside of recyclable materials at their point of generation, that is, before they enter the waste stream, for segregated collection and subsequent recycling.

Stack testing

The collecting and measuring of representative samples of gaseous and particulate matter that flow through a stack, that is, either a chimney, flue, vent, roof monitor, conduit or duct arranged to vent emissions to the ambient air.

State of the Environment Reports

Reports that provide an assessment of the condition of the environment, pressures on the environment, and the responses of the environment to those pressures. They also analyse trends, evaluate the effectiveness of policies and establish a benchmark from which future environmental changes can be reported.

Statement of Environmental Effects (SEE)

A detailed assessment of the potential environmental impacts of a proposed development. The content of an SEE is determined by the consent authority.

Statutory instruments

Pollution control licences, approvals and notices that are issued to individuals by the EPA and require that certain measures be taken to prevent or minimise pollution.

Statutory requirements

Requirements referred to in legislation or instruments issued under legislation. An example of a statutory requirement is the fact that, pursuant to the pollution control legislation, certain activities must be licensed by the EPA and the conditions attached to any such licence must be complied with.


Excess water that is generated by rainfall and is often routed into drain systems in order to prevent flooding.

Stratified estuary

An estuary with a fresh water layer floating on a salt water layer. The fresh water flows out towards the ocean and the salt layer flows inwards towards the land.


A group of round or ovoid, often pathogenic, bacteria, that occur in pairs or chains.

Support infrastructure

All service and supply inputs needed to sustain an enterprise. Support infrastructure can include electricity supply, water, trade, labour supply and road systems.

Surface water

Includes all natural and built waterways or channels, whether flow is intermittent or not; all lakes and impoundments (except lined dams) associated with landfilling activities; and other marshes, lagoons and swamps.

Suspended solids

Organic or inorganic particles that are suspended in and carried by the water. The term includes sand, mud, and clay particles as well as solids in wastewater. Also known as non-filtrable residue.


Residue of raw materials or waste separated out during the processing of crops or mineral ores.


Animal fat from cattle, sheep and horses used for soaps, leather dressings, candles, food and greases and as a chemical intermediate.

Technology-based standards

Technology-based effluent standards are developed by considering the effluent quality that can be achieved using various process or treatment technologies, and the costs of those technologies, rather than basing effluent standards on the environmental effects of different loadings of pollutants.

Tertiary treatment

Advanced cleaning of wastewater that goes beyond the secondary or biological stage. It removes nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen and most suspended solids.


Poisonous, carcinogenic, or otherwise directly harmful to life.

Toxic wastes

Any waste substance producing a harmful effect on living organisms by physical contact, ingestion or inhalation.

Trade waste

Any matter or thing, whether solid, gaseous or liquid, that is refuse from any industrial, chemical, trade or business process or operation, including any building or demolition work.

Transfer station

A waste handling facility used to transfer waste from collection vehicles to a bulk haul vehicle in order to achieve long distance transportation efficiency. It may also be used to sort and redirect waste with the potential to recycle before disposal.


Chemical, biological or mechanical processes applied to an industrial or municipal discharge or to other sources of contamination to remove, reduce or neutralise contaminants.

Trickling filter

A biological treatment device; wastewater is trickled over a bed of stones covered with bacterial growth. The bacteria break down the organic wastes in the sewage and produce cleaner water.

Triple rinsed

A term relating to the washing of chemical containers before they are disposed of; containers are washed and drained three times, usually with clean water.


A measure of the amount of material suspended in the water. Increasing the turbidity of the water decreases the amount of light that penetrates the water column. High levels of turbidity are harmful to aquatic life.

Uppermost aquifer

The nearest geological media to the base of the landfill that does or potentially could act as an aquifer.

Vadose zone

The zone beneath the topsoil and overlying water table, in which water in pore spaces coexists with air, or in which the geological materials are unsaturated.


A carrier that is capable of transmitting a pathogen from one organism to another.

Vegetative screening

Purpose-planted vegetation that lessens the impacts of a development on the surrounding area. Vegetative screening can be planted on the natural fall of the land or on raised earthen banks. When properly planned and maintained, it can effectively influence noise, dust, light, air movement and visual amenity.


A naturally occurring mineral that on heat treatment expands to become an inert low density absorbent material: an ideal packaging material.


Readily vaporisable at a relatively low temperature.


Includes any matter (whether liquid, solid, gaseous or radioactive) that is discharged, emitted or deposited in the environment in such volume, constituency, or manner as to cause an alteration to the environment.

Waste depot

A place for the reception, storage, treatment or disposal of waste, including a place declared by regulation to be a waste depot.

Waste stream

A general term to denote the waste output of an area, location or facility.


Water carrying dissolved or suspended solids from homes, farms, businesses and industries.

Wastewater treatment process

Includes any process that modifies characteristics such as BOD, COD or pH, usually for the purpose of meeting effluent standards.


The geographic region within which water drains into a particular river or body of water.


The upper surface of groundwater or the level below which the soil is saturated with water.


Habitats where the influence of surface or groundwater has resulted in the development of plant or animal communities adapted to such aquatic or intermittently wet conditions.


Designating, by ordinances, areas of land reserved and regulated for different land uses.


Minute aquatic animals that eat phytoplankton and each other.

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