Chemical control orders

Chemical control orders (CCOs) are used to manage chemicals and chemical wastes that require additional controls beyond those set under current pollution laws.

CCOs are created under Part 3, Division 5 of the Environmentally Hazardous Chemicals Act 1985 (EHC Act) and are used to selectively and specifically control particular chemicals or chemical wastes to limit their potential or actual impact on the environment.

They complement other environmental legislation by providing a rapid and flexible mechanism for responding to emerging chemical issues.

CCOs address the stockpiling of chemical wastes and target substances which are highly persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic, including chemicals that are toxic in very low doses. A CCO can be made in relation to

  • single substances
  • groups of substances, such as scheduled chemicals
  • particular waste streams, such as aluminium smelter wastes

The EPA currently has five CCOs in place in NSW. These are for

Each CCO sets out general requirements for handling these chemicals throughout their life cycle and may specify extra licence conditions for some activities.

Chemical control orders are usually made where controls on chemicals are required beyond those set under current pollution laws.

The first step in making a CCO involves assessment of a chemical or declaration of a chemical waste as being environmentally hazardous. In the past CCOs have been made as a result of assessments at a national level and international chemicals agreements to which Australia is a signatory.

The EPA can then determine whether to create a CCO. The process includes consideration of public submissions.

CCOs are published in the NSW Government Gazette and take effect from the specified date. They remain in force until a repeal notice is published in the Gazette.

Appeals

If you have objections to the making of a CCO, see Division 5, Part 6 of the EHC Act for information about how to appeal. Appeals are only considered if they are made in writing to the Manager, Chemicals Regulation (email: info@environment.nsw.gov.au) within 30 days of the date of gazettal of the order.

If you are handling a substance that is subject to a CCO, you must comply with the CCO requirements and associated licence conditions. Failure to comply is an offence under the EHC Act.

The maximum penalties for these offences are

  • $137,500 (corporation)
  • $66,000 (individual)

For more information, contact Environment Line.

In conjunction with the review of the EHC Act, the EPA began a staged review of the five current CCOs. The review aims to

  • thoroughly assess the adequacy of each CCO
  • determine whether improvements are required

Public submissions to the review closed 12 August 2016. The EPA is now considering these submissions and developing a discussion paper with proposed amendments to the CCOs. The paper will be released for public comment once the review of EHC regulation is completed.

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