Polluters and owners and occupiers of land have a responsibility to report pollution to either the Director EPA, or to Local Council.
Under section 32 of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (EMPCA), persons responsible for an environmentally relevant activity which results in a pollutant being released into the environment are required to report the incident if the release causes, or may cause, environmental harm or environmental nuisance.
- Director EPA must be notified (on 1800 005 171) - if the release has caused, or may cause, serious or material environmental harm, or if the activity is regulated by the EPA.
- Local Council must be notified - if the activity is regulated by Council, or is a residential matter and is causing or may cause environmental nuisance.
If an owner or occupier of land reasonably believes or becomes aware that the land is a contaminated site, that person must notify the Director EPA (section 74B of EMPCA).
All notifications must be made within 24 hours of becoming aware of the release of the pollutant, potential or actual environmental harm, or of the land becoming a contaminated site.
Marine Oil or Chemical Spill or Incident
In the case of a marine oil or chemical spill or incident, the master of a ship must notify the Director EPA without delay and in a prescribed manner in accordance with section 25I and Form 5 of the Pollution of Water by Oil and Other Noxious Substance Act 1987.
Further information on the prescribed manner will be given on reporting the spill by calling 1800 005 171.
General Environmental Duty
A person must take such steps as are practicable or reasonable to prevent or minimise environmental harm or environmental nuisance caused, or likely to be caused, by an activity conducted by that person.