What are the legislative requirements that relate to PIRMPs?
- All environment protection licence holders (licensees) must prepare, implement and test a PIRMP in accordance with the requirements set out in part 5.7A of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act) and Part 3A of the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation 2009 (General Regulation).
- The EPA may direct the occupier of a premises undertaking activities that do not require an environment protection licence to prepare a PIRMP.
- There are penalties for not complying with the requirements to prepare, test and implement PIRMPs.
When do I need to have a plan in place?
Licensees must have a PIRMP in place before they commence operations.
What should be included in a PIRMP?
The plans must include the information set out in part 5.7A of the POEO Act and Part 3A of the General Regulation.
These requirements are explained further in the Guideline: preparation of pollution incident response management plans (PDF 2MB).
The guideline contains further detail on the information that must be included in the plan including
- communicating with regulatory and emergency response agencies
- description and likelihood of hazards
- pre-emptive actions to be taken
- inventory of pollutants
- safety equipment
- communicating with neighbours and the community
- minimising harm to persons on the premises
- actions to be taken during or immediately after a pollution incident
- staff training
- testing requirements
Who do licensees contact if an incident occurs?
All PIRMPs must include response agency and community notification protocols.
The guideline protocol for industry notification of pollution incidents contains the information and procedures for those responsible for reporting a pollution incident to authorities.
How often do the PIRMPs need to be tested?
PIRMPs must be tested at least once every 12 months. Testing and maintaining PIRMPs to ensure that the information is accurate and up to date and the PIRMP can be implemented in a workable and effective manner.
Plans also need to be tested within one month of any pollution incident occurring. This should address any issues with implementing the plan that become known during or following an incident. For example, incorrect contact details or an inaccuracy in a map.
What PIRMP information is made available to the public and how?
Only certain parts of the PIRMP must be made publicly available. These include the procedures to notify and provide information to people within the vicinity and relevant authorities in the event of an incident.
The parts required to be made public are outlined in under section 153C(a) of the POEO Act and clause 98C(1)(h) and (i) or (2)(b) and (c) of the General Regulation. If the licensee does not have a website, then they must provide a copy of the plan to any person who makes a written request.
How are privacy issues addressed if parts of the PIRMP are required to be made available to the public?
Personal information within the meaning of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 is not required to be included in the parts of the plan that are made available to the public.
Do I need to submit my plan to the EPA for approval?
No. You do not need to submit your PIRMP for approval. The EPA does not approve PIRMPs. The role of the EPA is to set objectives for environmental management, not to be directly involved in the development of strategies to achieve those objectives.