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You can stay up to date with the latest contaminated land management news and events, including

  • changes to policy and regulatory requirements
  • updates to guidelines and legislation
  • opportunities to have your say on public exhibitions.

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28 August 2019

Public consultation: the EPA is seeking feedback on draft guidelines

Consultants reporting on contaminated land: Contaminated Land Guidelines

The NSW EPA is reviewing its guidance for consultants reporting on the management of contaminated land, to make clearer what information the reports should contain. The aim is to ensure that reports on contaminated land contain enough suitable information to enable efficient review by regulators, site auditors, and other interested parties.

These guidelines:

  • describe the stages of reporting on the management of contaminated land and the objective of the reports for each stage
  • provide checklists of reporting requirements for consultants to use when reporting on contaminated sites.

These guidelines will replace the Guidelines for Consultants Reporting on Contaminated Sites.

Assessment and management of hazardous ground gases: Contaminated Land Guidelines

The NSW EPA is reviewing its guidance to ensure that hazardous ground gases are effectively assessed and managed in NSW.

Ground gases are frequently encountered during the assessment and remediation processes that occur before redeveloping potentially contaminated sites. They may also be encountered on land next to such site. As awareness of the issue has grown, so has the number of sites found to be impacted and requirement management. Failing to recognise and appropriately manage risks associated with ground gases may have significant consequences.

These guidelines:

  • set out recommended approaches and procedures for assessing and characterising sites that may be impacted by ground gases
  • focus on assessing the risks associated with ground gases
  • outline options for managing and mitigating risks associated with ground gases
  • describe the issues relating to ground gases as they have been encountered in Australia and overseas
  • describe the planning and regulatory process relating to ground gases in NSW.

These guidelines will replace the Guidelines for the Assessment and Management of Site Impacted by Hazardous Ground Gases.

How to have your say

You can download and submit feedback on the draft Consultants reporting on contaminated land and Assessment and management of hazardous ground gases through the NSW EPA 'Have your say' page.

Consultation will be open until midnight 8 October 2019.

If you have any questions on the consultation process, please call the Environment Line on 131 555 or email

Changes to management of UPSS commence on 1 September

On 1 September 2019, NSW councils will re-assume responsibility for regulating most underground petroleum storage systems (UPSS) in their local areas. The EPA will remain the regulator for sites that hold an EPA licence, are operated by a public authority, are in unincorporated areas of the state, or are subject to a regulatory notice issued by the EPA.

Coinciding with these changes, the updated Protection of the Environment Operations (Underground Petroleum Storage Systems) Regulation 2019 commences on 1 September and includes:

  • minor changes to definitions to streamline and clarify requirements for UPSS operators
  • closer alignment with Australian Standard AS4897-2008 The design, installation and operation of underground petroleum storage systems
  • a requirement to advise councils 30 days in advance of any decommissioning of a UPSS so they have better knowledge and visibility over UPSS sites in their local areas.

EPA cost recovery fee changes

The EPA can recover administrative costs for certain activities outlined in the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997. This amount is prescribed in the Contaminated Land Management Regulation 2013 and is adjusted each year in line with the Public Service Wage Price Index. The new fee rates are outlined in the table below, which take effect from 1 September 2019.

Costs associated with orders and proposals Application fee for accreditation as a site auditor Accreditation as a site auditor for a period of one year or less 
 $96 per hour $1,159 $8,098

See Paying for EPA cost recovery for more information.

22 July 2019

Training workshops - Underground petroleum storage systems

Registrations are open to council officers for capacity building workshops on the Underground Petroleum Storage Systems (UPSS) Regulation.
These 1-day workshops will give council officers knowledge and skills to regulate UPSS sites in their local area and are offered in metropolitan and regional centres for free. Workshops are running from August to November. More will be planned if there is enough demand.

How to register

  1. Log onto the EPA Learning website and search for UPSS Capacity Building Workshops under the 'Find Courses' tab. Note: you will need to create an EPA Learning account before you can view the sessions.
  2. Select the session you want to attend, add to cart, and proceed.
  3. Ensure you receive a confirmation email and verify the date and venue you enrolled for.

We recommend smaller councils send 1-2 people and larger councils send up to 3-4. These should be officers who will be inspecting and taking compliance actions at UPSS sites.

More information

Visit the UPSS webpage to keep up to date. You can also contact the UPSS team on with any queries or to receive UPSS newsletters.

20 May 2019

Remake of the Protection of the Environment Operations (Underground Petroleum Storage Systems) Regulation 2014

The EPA is remaking the Protection of the Environment Operations (Underground Petroleum Storage Systems) Regulation 2014 (UPSS Regulation) in order to:

  • streamline and simplify its requirements
  • update terminology
  • provide for the regulatory roles of the EPA and councils for underground petroleum storage systems (UPSS) at varying sites.

All Regulations need to be remade every five years, or they lapse. The UPSS Regulation needs to be remade by 1 September 2019.

Proposed changes to the UPSS Regulation

Minor changes are proposed which will:

  • align requirements in the Regulation for best practice pollution prevention equipment with Australian Standard 4897 – 2008
  • require 30-days’ notice to be given to local councils where a UPSS operator intends to decommission a system
  • require UPSS operators to provide a short annual report to their regulator outlining the performance of the storage system during the financial year.
  • change the definitions of duly qualified person and person responsible to recognise shifts in industry terminology and best practice simplify the definitions of petroleum and secondary leak detection system, and apply the Regulation to all EPA licensed sites
  • change the name of the Environment Protection Plan prepared by UPSS operators to the Fuel System Operation Plan.

Consultation process

The EPA is inviting online submissions on the draft UPSS Regulation 2019 and the Regulatory Impact Statement until 7 June 2019.

Councils will assume regulation of UPSS in September

On 1 September 2019 councils will assume responsibility for about 2,000 sites, mostly service stations, of the estimated 3,000 operating UPSS sites in NSW. Councils will assume responsibility for regulating most UPSS in their area, while the EPA will remain the regulator for UPSS sites which:

  • hold an EPA licence
  • are operated by a public authority
  • are in unincorporated areas of the state, or
  • are subject to a regulatory notice issued by the EPA.

What help is the EPA offering councils?

The EPA is developing a free training and transition package which includes:

  • face-to-face training delivered across metropolitan and regional locations
  • online modules covering all aspects of the design, construction, operation, and regulation of UPSS.
  • templates and guidance materials to help council officers undertake inspections, determine compliance with the UPSS Regulation, and follow up non-compliances or incidents
  • a handover package for councils with information regarding UPSS sites in their area.

What should councils do on 1 September 2019?

Council officers aren’t expected to rush out on 1 September 2019 to inspect all UPSS sites in their area. There will be a transition period where councils will be digesting the information and templates provided, attending training, and developing a plan to incorporate UPSS sites into their broader environmental compliance functions. The EPA will remain involved in UPSS regulation by regulating sites where it remains the Appropriate Regulatory Authority, and providing guidance materials, support and advice to councils.

What’s next?

  • May - councils can provide input on the draft Protection of the Environment Operations (Underground Petroleum Storage Systems) Regulation 2019 until 7 June.
  • June - council officers can register for training workshops to be held across NSW.
  • August and September - councils will receive handover information packages about UPSS sites in their area and guidance and templates for regulating UPSS sites.

Council officers can register forupdates about the UPSS transition process, by emailing

2 April 2019

Consultation on draft of version 2 of the PFAS National Environmental Management Plan

The PFAS National Environmental Management Plan (NEMP) was published in February 2018 following agreement by all Australian Environment Ministers. The Heads of EPAs (HEPA) National Chemicals Working Group (NCWG) has been working since then to clarify and expand on the guidance in the NEMP. This updating work is consistent with the commitment by HEPA that the NEMP will be a living document. A comprehensive review of the PFAS NEMP will be undertaken in 2023.

Material for consultation

Material in the NEMP 2.0 for consultation includes:

  • updates to the soil criteria included in PFAS NEMP version 1, to ensure that criteria are appropriate for Australian conditions (these include changes to the human health residential soil criterion and to the land use categories for the ecological indirect soil criterion)
  • extensive new guidance on the reuse of soil, including a decision tree to be applied in consultation with the regulator
  • initial guidance on management of PFAS in wastewater, including trade waste, to be further developed in consultation with the water industry. This guidance includes an example water utility PFAS management framework
  • new on-site storage and containment guidance for PFAS-containing products and materials.

Stakeholders are invited to consider and provide feedback on the aspects of the NEMP that are either new or significantly revised.

Consultation schedule

From March to April 2019, the NCWG, under the direction of HEPA, will host open consultation sessions in all capital cities around Australia. Anyone is welcome to attend.

The Sydney consultation is scheduled for Wednesday 10 April. Please register for the Sydney consultation session by COB Friday 5 April to receive the event details.

More details on the PFAS NEMP 2.0, including how to make a submission and the national consultation schedule, are located on the EPA Victoria website.

Transition of regulatory responsibility to council for underground petroleum storage systems (UPSS)

On 1 September 2019, local councils will be responsible for regulating sites with a UPSS in their local areas (mainly service stations). The EPA will retain regulatory responsibility for UPSS at licensed premises, operated by public authorities, and those located in the unincorporated area in western NSW.

The EPA is preparing a capacity building package for local councils to assist with the transition. This package will include:

  • updated guidance materials on UPSS management
  • a training program for council officers
  • template materials.

Any council officers wishing to keep up to date with the transition process, including accessing training opportunities, should register their contact details with the EPA’s UPSS team by emailing

For more information on the transfer of regulation, contact James Allen on (02) 9995 5510 or email

Compliance self-evaluation: Are you up to date with your UPSS obligations?

Leaks from UPSS are a major environmental problem and can have impacts that are costly and time consuming to fix.

The EPA has developed a self-evaluation program to provide service station operators with a quick and simple way to review their compliance with environmental requirements for UPSS in NSW.

Why should you participate?

Service station operators who participate in this program are more likely to identify issues and take the necessary actions to correct them before they develop into major environmental problems.

The EPA and key industry bodies, such as the Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association and the Service Stations Association, encourage all service station operators to participate in this program. It only takes 5 to 15 minutes to complete and could save you an expensive remediation or compliance issue.

You can see more information and complete the self-evaluation online or by requesting a form through Please submit the self-evaluation by 30 April 2019.

For more information on the self-evaluation program, contact James Allen on (02) 9995 5510 or email

Issuing penalty notices for vapour recovery non-compliance

Local council officers authorised under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 are now able to issue penalty notices for certain vapour recovery offences by petrol service stations – see Table 1. This power came into effect on 22 February 2019, following amendment of Schedule 6 – Penalty notice offences of the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation 2009 (POEO General Regulation). Councils have been the appropriate regulatory authority for vapour recovery at service stations since 2017.

Table 1: Sort title offence codes for vapour recovery offences

Protection of the Environment (Clean Air) Regulation 2010
Clause Offence
69 (2) and (3)

Occupier of petrol station not have storage tank tested – Corporation/Individual

70 Operate prescribed storage tank with hatch/manhole/other cover open – Corporation/Individual
71 (1) and (2) Not have prescribed storage tank/control equipment tested– Corporation/Individual
73 (1) and (2) Not test control equipment for vapour containment/system recovery performance to standard – Corporation/Individual
75 (1) and (2) Not notify of commissioning of prescribed storage tank or prescribed petrol dispenser – Corporation/Individual
76 (1) and (2) Not display/cause sign/sticker/other notification regarding stage two vapour recovery – Corporation/Individual
77 (1) Occupier of petrol station not keep prescribed log book–Corporation/Individual


Amendment to the POEO General Regulation is made via the Protection of the Environment Operations Amendment (Drug Exhibit Waste and Vapour Recovery) Regulation 2019.

For more information on the vapour recovery changes, contact James Allen on (02) 9995 5510 or email

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