Load-based fees are calculated using a formula that incorporates incentives for ongoing pollution reduction. These incentives are proportional to the harmfulness of each pollutant. The factors used in calculating pollutant load fees are
AL - Assessable load
The pollutants for which load fees are payable for each type of licensed activity are called assessable pollutants. The fee is proportional to the assessable load (AL) of these pollutants, which is the least of the actual load (determined through the monitoring of emissions), the weighted load (where the actual load is discounted to reflect measures employed to reduce the harmfulness of discharges, such as effluent reuse), and the agreed load (a future load reduction committed to under a load reduction agreement with the EPA).
PW - pollutant weighting
Each assessable pollutant is given a pollutant weighting (PW), ranging from 0.5 to 930,000, to reflect its potential to inflict environmental damage. For water pollutants, weights vary depending on the type of receiving water (open coastal, estuarine or enclosed).
A critical zone weighting (CZ) of between 1 and 7 applies for each assessable pollutant where there are excesses of pollutants in sensitive or overloaded environments.
PFU - pollutant fee unit
Pollutant fee units (PFUs) are the dollar value components of the load fee calculation formula.
FRT - fee rate threshold
Any portion of an assessable pollutant's load in excess of its fee rate threshold (FRT) is charged at double the rate. FRTs mark a level of performance readily achievable under Australian conditions, and provide a strong incentive for licensees to pursue early and easier gains in pollution reduction. The fee rate threshold for each activity–pollutant combination is set out in Schedule 1 of the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation 2009.