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 UPSS operators
The EPA has developed a self-evaluation program that allows UPSS operators to review their compliance with UPSS requirements in NSW.
Operators of UPSS's who complete the self-evaluation 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 until 31 August 2021. All other Exemption Orders issued by the EPA have now expired. This means all active 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
- were subject to a notice issued by the EPA before 1 September 2019 for a matter under the UPSS Regulation until the actions in that notice have been complied with.
The EPA provided councils with training and resources to assist them regulate UPSS in their local area. This included face-to-face training, on-line training module, handover information, templates, and guidance for councils.
The EPA is provided 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.
The EPA will schedule additional face-to-face workshops if there is enough demand.
The online training resource for council officers 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.