Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Underground fuel storage inspections protect the environment

Media release: 17 August 2016

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and Tweed Shire Council will be teaming up to carry out inspections of underground fuel storage systems (UPSS) across the Tweed during the month of August.

There are 35 storage system sites across the Tweed, including fuel stations, fuel depots and industrial operations. All have been made aware of the upcoming inspections.

EPA Executive Director Hazardous Incidents and Environmental Health, Sarah Gardner said these sites make up one of the biggest risk areas for potential contamination in NSW.

“Most contaminated sites are the historical legacy of industrial or waste management but underground fuel storage is one ongoing activity which has emerged as a cause of contamination and continues to be a risk of future contamination.  

“Leaks from these tanks have already contaminated some locations and can pose a risk to the environment, contaminating local soil and water resources, including stormwater drains, sewers and service trenches.

“This compliance campaign is aimed at ensuring Tweed’s UPSS owners and operators have the correct systems and equipment in place to check for leaks and manage a pollution incident if it does occur.

“Compliance by UPSS owners and operators can avoid having to cover the cost of the clean-up from a leak which can run into the millions of dollars and may incur other liabilities.

“Such circumstances not only impact the viability of small businesses but can have other community impacts including on land value and future development.

Regulation began in 2008 to reduce the environmental risks and liabilities from these sites by ensuring good management and early detection of leaks. Changes were introduced in 2014 to assist business with more flexibility in meeting environmental requirements.

Tweed Shire Council’s General Manager, Troy Green said teaming up with the EPA presents a great training opportunity for Council environmental health staff participating in the project.

“The project will ensure that environmental risks associated with UPSS sites are minimised and this is a great outcome for the Tweed community,” Troy said.

Contact: EPA media officer

Page last updated: 17 August 2016