Reducing the risk of pollution from service station runoff

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has released a guide that outlines how service stations can better protect the environment from potentially polluted run-off from service station forecourts.

EPA Executive Director of Hazardous Incidents and Environmental Health Stephen Beaman said run-off from service station forecourts can contain fuel and oil from spills that may occur during fuelling of vehicles. 

“The run-off needs to be collected and managed to protect human health and the environment. If not collected, these pollutants may be washed into the stormwater system and flow to our rivers, lakes and beaches,” Mr Beaman said.

“Through the new guide the EPA is encouraging the service station industry to adopt best practice water capture and treatment technologies to prevent this happening.”

The forecourts of service stations are generally hard surfaces with re-fuelling areas, parking bays, traffic and pedestrian access areas. As water flows across these hard surfaces, especially during rainfall, it can collect residues of petrol, oil or diesel which contain contaminants such as petroleum hydrocarbons, heavy metals, oils, grease, lubricants, coolants and dirt.

The EPA has released the Practice Note – Managing forecourt run-off from service stations providing guidance on how to treat potentially contaminated forecourt run-off, before it reaches the environment.

The guide provides recommendations on planning and design, managing risks, and approaches for collecting and treating forecourt run-off at service stations.

Mr Beaman said local councils were best placed to assess and provide advice on local environmental risks.

“This Practice Note will help both councils and service station operators to assess potential risks and impacts,” Mr Beaman said.

The Practice Note can be downloaded free of charge from the EPA’s website at