A primary EPA objective is to protect, restore and enhance the quality of the environment in NSW. To help achieve this objective, the EPA assists the responsible party in efforts to mitigate the impact of pollution incidents on the environment and surrounding community.
Pollution incidents may occur due to a broad range of causes. The severity of the incident depends on factors including:
the nature and amount of the materials exposed to the environment
the level of sensitivity of the local environment
variables such as the time of day, weather conditions and community activities.
Examples of incidents that may result in environmental harm include:
an unauthorised release of chemicals to the air from a factory stack
a milk tanker rollover into a creek
a sewerage system overflow
a factory fire
illegal dumping of waste
Under part 5.7 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997, there is a duty to notify the EPA of pollution incidents in NSW. To report pollution incidents phone Environment Line on:
See Incident status for an update on significant incidents involving the EPA.
State emergency management framework
The emergency management framework in NSW is established under the State Emergency and Rescue Management Act 1989 and includes the formation and operation of the State Emergency Management Committee. This committee is responsible for emergency management planning in NSW.
The committee has prepared the NSW State Emergency Plan (EMPLAN), which outlines the roles and responsibilities of the different agencies involved in emergency management in NSW. Through this plan, the EPA has a leading role in responding to emergencies where the environment is at risk.
Under EMPLAN, the EPA is also responsible for coordinating the Environmental Services Functional Area. This is documented in the Environmental Services Functional Area Supporting Plan (Enviroplan). In accordance with Enviroplan and in collaboration with other agencies, the EPA:
Page last updated: 17 December 2013