Environmental Compliance

Avoid Costly Non-Compliance Penalties 

Does your business involve the handling and storage of liquids? Is there a risk of spills or contamination? Are you meeting your environmental compliance obligations?

If your business is part of the automotive, aeronautical, construction, engineering, manufacturing, marine or mining industries you could be at risk of serious fines for non compliant storage of liquid substances. Specific legislation and guidelines exists that apply to how you handle and store liquid substances to minimise the risk of environmental contamination.

Under section 120 of the Protection of the Environment Operations (POEO) Act 1997 (NSW), it is illegal to pollute or permit the pollution of waters. Water pollutants include but are not limited to; litter, sediment, oil, grease, wash water, debris, chemical waste and flammable liquids such as paint and gasoline.

You should take all practical steps to make sure that unforeseen events, such as spills or leaks, do not result in polluted water entering the stormwater system or groundwater. This means keeping chemicals in a properly maintain and operated bunded and covered storage area.

Click here for more information on liquid storage, handling and spill management guidelines.An integral part of pollution prevention when storing liquids is secondary containment. Secondary containment refers to any means used to contain liquids in the event that the primary container (liquid storage container) fails or if spills occur. The most common type of secondary containment is bunding.

Failure to comply to the POEO Act may result in fines of up to $250,000, plus up to $60,000 per day for a continuing offence. A business committing the same offence may be fined up to $1,000,000, plus up to $120,000 per day for a continuing offence.  Fines also apply if a prevention notice is issued for failing to take precautionary measures in the event of a spill. Similar legislation and penalties apply in all states and territories.