Volumetric surveys

What is a volumetric survey?

A volumetric survey is the comparison of the results of two or more topographical surveys conducted at different points in time.

Why are volumetric surveys required?

Volumetric surveys provide the EPA with information relating to the:

  • rate at which available landfill capacity is being consumed
  • management of stockpiles of waste awaiting recycling or processing
  • functioning of the waste levy (levy) system.

When should a baseline and volumetric survey be undertaken?

Initial (baseline) survey

The EPA may direct any new scheduled waste disposal facilities (i.e. EPA-licensed landfills) or existing EPA-licensed landfills to be surveyed on a date specified by the EPA.

This survey is referred to as the baseline survey (it is not a ‘volumetric survey’). The baseline survey establishes the total design capacity of the facility and sets the benchmark against which all other surveys will be compared.

Routine (volumetric) survey

Unless the EPA agrees to an alternate time frame, occupiers must have their waste facility surveyed each June and December. This is known as the survey period.

The EPA may also direct an occupier, by notice in writing, to undertake a volumetric survey at any time. For example, the occupier may be directed to undertake a volumetric survey before placing the waste in a newly constructed cell.

Who can undertake a survey?

Surveys must be carried out by a qualified surveyor.

What is required to be surveyed?

Periodic volumetric surveys of landfill sites and topographical surveys of scheduled waste facilities may be required.

Refer to Waste Levy Guideline 5 – Topographical and volumetric surveys of the Waste Levy Guidelines (PDF 888KB).




Tolerance of +/- 0.2m. This figure is considered reasonable for the type of survey and task required.

Boundaries, site area

The site boundaries should clearly identify the extent of the site covered by the licence. The adjoining title information puts the site in context with surrounding land-parcels and land-owners.

 See also title details.

Boundaries, active cells

An active cell is one that either received waste for landfilling or was mined or quarried, during the survey period.

The plan should clearly show the boundaries of these areas.

The boundaries of the active cells should be determined at the commencement of operations and will remain unchanged during the life of the cell. Areas occupied by bund walls, lining material etc. are to be enclosed within the denoted boundary.

Change in void space during a survey period

This is the net change in void space since the last survey. Where a facility is used for both landfilling and extracting and removing material from the site, it is possible that this figure may be positive, that is, more void space may have been created by extraction and removal from the site than was consumed by landfilling.


Lines drawn in the plan, which represent the nominated level along their entire length. The locations of these lines are interpolated between measured heights, and the accuracy of those locations is directly dependent on the distance between the heights and the irregularity of the topography, i.e. rough terrain should have a greater density of measured heights to ensure accurate contours.


The occupier is the entity who has management or control of the facility.

Prescribed date

For surveys carried out in December, the following 31 January. For surveys carried out in June, the following 31 July.

Registered surveyor

Surveyor registered under the Surveying Act 2002.


The scales quoted are commonly used for engineering purposes and should allow plans to be free of overlapping and crowded information.

Stockpile details

Stockpile locations must be cross-referenced to the landfill facility information certificate for identification purposes. Numbers must correlate with the stockpile information certificate.

Occupiers have been provided with a separate set of instructions dealing with the stocktake of stockpiles and the stockpile information certificate.

Occupiers will provide the surveyor with the stockpile identification number to be shown against the relevant stockpile on the survey plan.

Survey plans

Show site detail and levels. Items of detail which should be shown for landfill facilities are buildings, roads, fences, stockpiles, ponds, landfill cells, extraction areas, weighbridges and any other significant details likely to impact on volume usage or landfill lifespan.

Title details

Site area to be shown in hectares.

The lot and deposited plan (DP) covered by the landfill licence. All lot and deposited plan numbers within the site must be denoted on the plan.

Where the landfill does not occupy a unique lot or deposited plan, that is, the licence might be referred to as to part of Lot 1, Lot 2 in the deposited plan 234567, the plan must show the Map Grid Australia (MGA) coordinates of the cadastral boundary.

The MGA coordinates of the active landfill site must be denoted on the plan and must remain unaltered over the life of the cell.

Void space remaining at beginning of survey period

The void space remaining before total design capacity is reached.


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