Your duties and obligations regarding land contamination have expanded under the new EPA General Environmental Duty (GED). EPA recognises that (as the current land owner/manager) you may not have caused, or contributed to, any land contamination that is present. Nevertheless, you are now subject to a series of duties in relation to land contamination, regardless of the underlying causes.
EPA GED fire risks. If your business manages or stores combustible recyclable and waste material, you must understand your risks, your duties, adopt controls and hold the necessary EPA licences, permits or registrations.
A recent EPA prosecution for illegal dumping demonstrates potential pitfalls in chemical or drum disposal, for the well-intentioned, under the GED.
If there is a chemical spill or incident at your business, you may need to notify EPA.
You must report a pollution incident if it causes or threatens ‘material harm’ to human health or the environment, even if the incident is contained to your site.
If waste or pollution is present during an EPA inspection, or some kind of non-compliance is detected, EPA officers can issue a ‘notice or direction’.
Although these are technically not sanctions, they do form part of the compliance and enforcement framework. A sanction may often follow, if your business does not adhere to a notice or direction.
EPA is increasingly utilising the enforcement powers under the new Victorian environment protection legislation, making greater use of proactive inspections and public reporting of pollution. The best defence against enforcement action is to proactively seek to manage environmental risks, with the help of GEDedge, even if it’ll take time to develop a practicable response.
Victoria’s new environmental protection laws are here From July 1 2021, Victoria has new environment protection laws. These sweeping changes will affect thousands of Victorian businesses. The new environment protection laws create an obligation for all Victorians to...