UPSS are most common at service stations but may be found where fuel is used, for example at marinas, work depots, airports, car dealerships, or government facilities. Operators of UPSS must have systems in place to prevent, report, and fix leaks if they happen.
The UPSS Regulation
The Protection of the Environment Operations (Underground Petroleum Storage Systems) Regulation 2019 (PDF 311KB) (UPSS Regulation) aims to minimise the risk to human health and the environment by requiring best practice design, installation, maintenance, and monitoring of UPSS in NSW.
Responsibility for UPSS
The person responsible for a UPSS is the person who has ‘management and control’ of the system. The person responsible must have procedures and systems in place to detect and fix any fuel leaks as early as possible, and document these in a Fuel System Operation Plan for the site.
It is against the law to allow or ignore contamination resulting from a leaking or faulty UPSS. The person responsible for the UPSS has a duty to notify pollution incidents immediately and then provide a completed UPSS Regulation leak notification form (DOCX 46KB) to the Appropriate Regulatory Authority within 30 days.
Compliance self-evaluation for service stations
The EPA has developed a self-evaluation program that allows service station operators to review their compliance with UPSS requirements in NSW.
Service station operators who participated are more likely to identify issues and take the appropriate actions before they develop into major environmental problems.
Exemptions from the UPSS Regulation
UPSS used to store fuel for stand-by power generation, waste, or heating oil, are exempt from several provisions of the Regulation. All other Exemption Orders issued by the EPA have now expired. This means all UPSS, other than those used to store fuel for stand-by power generation, waste, or heating oil, must now operate in accordance with the UPSS Regulation.
See Exemptions from the UPSS Regulation for more detail.
Regulators of UPSS in NSW
From 1 September 2019, most sites with UPSS in NSW are regulated by local councils. Visit Office of Local Government to find your local council.
The EPA is the regulatory authority for UPSS sites that are
- operated by public authorities
- in the unincorporated areas of NSW
- subject to an environment protection licence
- subject to a notice issued by the EPA before 1 September 2019 for a matter under the UPSS Regulation until the actions in the notice have been complied with.
The EPA is providing councils with the knowledge and capacity to regulate UPSS in their local area. This includes training (see below), handover information, templates, and guidance for councils.
The EPA is providing continuing support and advice for councils with UPSS issues. If you have questions about where you can find information on UPSS in your local area, or what templates and guidance are available for council officers, please contact the EPA's UPSS team on 131 555 or by email at UPSSREG@epa.nsw.gov.au.
Training workshops for council officers on UPSS regulation
Registrations are open for council officers to attend capacity building workshops on UPSS regulation. These 1-day face-to-face workshops will provide council officers with knowledge and skills to regulate UPSS sites in their local area.
Locations and dates have been confirmed from August to November 2019. Council officers can register to attend a free workshop in metropolitan or regional centres by following the instructions below.
- 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.
- Select the session you want to attend, add to cart, and proceed.
- Ensure you receive a booking confirmation email and verify the date and venue you enrolled for.
These training workshops are only for council officers and attendees should be officers who will be directly responsible for carrying out inspections and taking compliance action at sites with UPSS.
The EPA will schedule additional face-to-face workshops if there is enough demand.
There is also an online training resource for council officers. This training can be used as a refresher or to train staff new to regulating UPSS sites. You can find this on the EPA Learning website by searching 'UPSS Capacity Building Online Training Modules'.
Consultation on changes to the Protection of the Environment Operations (Underground Petroleum Storage Systems) Regulation 2019
Consultation on changes to the Protection of the Environment Operations (Underground Petroleum Storage Systems) Regulation 2019 was open from 17 May 2019 to 31 July 2019.
Comments and feedback on the draft Regulation were actively sought from key industry and government stakeholder groups and the general community.