Underground petroleum storage systems
The Protection of the Environment Operations (Underground Petroleum Storage Systems) Regulation 2014 (UPSS Regulation) was revised in September 2014 to clarify the statutory requirements for the management and operation of underground petroleum storage system (UPSS) infrastructure in NSW. UPSS Regulation 2014 remade, with some amendments, UPSS Regulation 2008.
The UPSS Regulation aims to ensure that UPSS management follows industry best practice to prevent land and groundwater contamination caused by leaking UPSS. The EPA is the appropriate regulatory authority for implementing the UPSS Regulation until June 2017. It is anticipated that local councils will resume broader regulatory roles under the Regulation after this date.
UPSS have the potential to leak, leading to expensive clean-up bills and damage to the environment. Persistent leaks can have a major impact on neighbouring properties and impose very significant costs on the tank owner and the broader community. The UPSS Regulation requires owners and operators to regularly check for leaks in the fuel tanks and pipes used to store and handle petroleum products. They also need to meet minimum standards in their day-to-day environmental management of these storage systems.
The UPSS Regulation was gazetted on 1 September 2014 and commenced on the same day and aims to:
- introduce preventative measures to reduce harm to human health and the environment
- save money and minimise time-consuming remediation by preventing leaks or dealing with them early
- ensure industry best practice is followed
- ensure appropriate validation and decommissioning of systems and sites.
Under the UPSS Regulation, it is against the law to allow or ignore contamination resulting from a leaking or faulty UPSS.
The person responsible for a UPSS (usually the owner/operator) is required to have in place:
- a system for detecting and monitoring leaks
- groundwater monitoring wells at sensitive locations and a program to test them
- an Environment Protection Plan for the facility
- systems in place for record keeping, reporting of leaks and notifying the local council when a UPSS is decommissioned.
Implementing the UPSS Regulation
The UPSS Regulation was revised in September 2014 to clarify the statutory requirements for the management and operation of underground petroleum storage system (UPSS) infrastructure in NSW. The EPA is the appropriate regulatory authority for the implementation of the Regulation to June 2017. It is anticipated that councils will assume broader regulatory roles under the Regulation after this date.
Amended requirements in the UPSS Regulation 2014 that apply to daily operations include:
- Provided it is accessible from the site, Environment Protection Plans may be held either electronically or in hardcopy form either as a dedicated document or as part of other site management procedures.
- The Environment Protection Plans must now include a drainage services diagram in site documentation.
- Use a loss monitoring procedure designed to take into account particular site characteristics and usage patterns of the storage system on condition that it provides environmental protection and has been designed and documented by a duly qualified person.
- Use alternatives to groundwater wells as a secondary leak detection system provided the alternative system is designed and documented by a duly qualified person. Where groundwater monitoring wells are installed they must be monitored in accordance with EPA requirements.
To assist those responsible for UPSS to understand and comply with the Regulation, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has prepared the guidelines below.
Exemptions from the UPSS Regulation
Some operators may be exempted from meeting certain requirements of the Regulation: see the Exemptions from the UPSS Regulation page for more details.
Phone Environment Line on 131 555 (toll free in NSW) or (02) 9995 5555.
Page last updated: 02 September 2016