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Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) runs an ‘Underground Petroleum Storage Systems at Service Stations’ program that aims to reduce the risks to people and the environment from leaking underground petroleum storage systems (UPSS).
Victorians are privileged to live in a healthy environment that supports prosperous communities. UPSS at service stations are one of the most common sources of both land and groundwater contamination. UPSS have the potential to leak, leading to expensive cleanup costs, damage to the environment and risks to human health. Everyone – government, industry, business and community members – has a role in protecting our environment for future generations.
What does the UPSS project involve?
The UPSS project aims to support service station operators to manage their UPSS via:
- the UPSS flipchart (as described below)
- site inspections conducted between March – May 2018 with co-regulators i.e. WorkSafe
- distribution of a Monitoring for leaks self-evaluation checklist and an associated summary report to:
What can site operators and owners expect next from EPA?
UPSS owners and operators should consider compliance with Victorian legislation and guidelines to be a high and immediate priority.
Over the next 12 months, we plan to:
- continue to conduct inspections to confirm UPSS management compliance
- follow up on the easy-to-follow UPSS flipchart guidance
- send out a follow-up self-evaluation checklist.
Self-evaluation and summary report
The UPSS program is sending out a follow-up self-evaluation checklist in June-July 2018. EPA will be asking owners/operators for their input into the UPSS program, which has been run by EPA for your benefit.
The UPSS flipchart
EPA has created a fact sheet (PDF 1.5MB) and a poster (PDF 525KB) that explain how leaking underground petroleum storage systems affect our environment and what EPA is doing about it.
We have also distributed a free guide to approximately 1400 service stations across the state – download the guide here (EPA publication 1670). Designed to help UPSS operators protect the environment and ensure public safety, this free UPSS guide in the form of a flipchart spells out the best ways to prevent and manage leaks and spills, as well as avoid other hazards. Under Victorian legislation and guidelines, owners and operators have responsibilities to properly manage their UPSS to minimise the risks they pose.
EPA Victoria gratefully acknowledges the support of the NSW Environment Protection Authority to produce this UPSS flipchart, as well as the assistance of various Victorian industry members.
What has been done in the past?
EPA conducted follow-up activities to ensure UPSS sites are being properly managed
EPA carried out inspections, desktop assessments and site visits for service stations across the state. These were to ensure UPSS owners and operators were regularly monitoring for leaks and properly acting on any indication of a possible leak. EPA can conduct these inspections at any time.
Early in 2015, EPA distributed a voluntary self-evaluation checklist to approximately 1400 sites so operators could determine the extent to which they complied with UPSS guidelines on The design, installation and management requirements for underground petroleum storage systems (publication 888). We received responses from 90 per cent of the operating service stations in Victoria, an amazing result reflective of substantial industry support.
The collected data allowed EPA to create a list of self-evaluation responses and to categorise service stations according to their potential for leaks. The data was a shared intelligence resource, and used for strategic follow-up activities at high-risk sites.
How can operators prepare for an EPA inspection?
If necessary, seek help to understand and comply with the guidelines. If you are not a member of an industry association but would like more information about the UPSS management services they provide, we suggest that you contact the:
- Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) on 03 9829 1111
- Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association (ACAPMA) on on 1300 160 270.
Take action now to ensure that you are adequately monitoring and addressing leaks. Apart from anything else, it’s in your best interests to make sure the marketability of your business is untarnished and your land asset isn’t compromised. Prevention is much cheaper than remediation!
Have your relevant records available onsite (examples are listed in the Q&A section below).