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Supporting industry to comply

In July 2017, EPA established a new unit to help industry and business better understand and comply with their environmental obligations.

In its first 12 months, the Industry Guidance Unit (IGU) focused on building stronger partnerships with business and industry and worked on a range of projects including the development of guidance for Underground Petroleum Storage Systems (UPSS) and Combustible Recyclable Waste Materials.

Underground Petroleum Storage System (UPSS)

In 2017, almost 70 per cent of fuel purchased every day by Victorians came from service stations using UPSS. These systems have the potential to leak and some components of petroleum are highly toxic and carcinogenic – for example, benzene, toluene, ethyl-benzene and xylene which can lead to environmental damage, risks to human health and expensive cleanup costs.

While UPSS guidance existed, EPA identified the need for practical and simple guidelines. The fuel industry was a willing partner and keen to better understand its obligations to protect the environment and service station businesses through regular monitoring for leaks.

In February 2018, an easy-to-use flipchart was produced to help UPSS operators understand their obligations, and 1,400 copies of Victorian underground petroleum storage systems: A guide to preventing and managing leaks and spills (EPA Publication 1670) were distributed to service stations across Victoria.

Combustible Recyclable Waste Management Project

In July 2017, a fire started at a Coolaroo recycling plant that took 20 days to extinguish. With people forced to evacuate or, in 16 cases, seek medical attention – this fire highlighted the need for stockpiled combustible materials to be properly managed to reduce the risk of fires. In response, IGU undertook the first co-designed prevention-based guidance for the management and storage of combustible, recyclable and waste materials.

Management and storage of combustible recyclable and waste materials guideline (EPA Publication 1667) was developed with waste industry and government stakeholders over a six-week period to align with Minister D’Ambrosio’s announcement of a Resource Recovery Facilities Audit Taskforce in July 2017. This publication supports business and industry to manage the risks of fire at their facilities and comply with the Interim Waste Management Policy (WMP). On 28 August 2018, the Waste Management Policy (Combustible Recyclable and Waste Materials) came into effect, replacing the interim policy.

Two EPA staff overseeing a fuel truck in a fuel station that has been cordoned off

70% of fuel from Victorian petrol stations is stored in Underground Petroleum Storage Systems (UPPS)

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1,400 guides

distributed to petrol station operators around the state

25 megalitres

of fuel sold per day in Victoria

UPSS leak detection measures

Hover over the different sections of the diagram below to learn more about how petrol stations detect leaks from Underground Petroleum Storage Systems (UPSS)












“We applaud EPA for the cooperative approach taken in respect to the management of environmental risk at service station sites in Victoria. These resources are yet another example of how EPA is working with our industry to protect the environment.”

- Mark McKenzie, Chief Executive Officer, Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association

Page last updated on 1 Jul 2019