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). More information is available on the Notification of a Contaminated Site page.
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 Pollution Incidents
If there is a discharge or likely discharge into State waters of oily or other noxious liquid or packaged harmful substances, the Marine-related Incidents (MARPOL Implementation) Act 2020 requires the master of the ship to notify a 'prescribed officer' as soon as possible. Prescribed officers include the Director, EPA and harbourmaster.
The master of a ship with a length of 15 metres or more must also notify a prescribed officer if there is an incident involving damage, failure or breakdown that affects the safety of the ship or impairs the ability to navigate the ship.
In both instances the officer may require the master to provide them with a report within 24 hours of being directed to do so.
If the ship's master is unable to comply with these requirements, or if the ship has been abandoned, notification must be provided by the owner, charterer, manager, operator or agent of the ship.
Regulation 5 of the Marine-related Incidents (MARPOL Implementation) Regulations 2020 prescribes that notification may be made by telephone, radio or other published contact details such as email. Contact information for the purposes of regulation 5 is as follows.
Telephone: 1800 005 171
or Business Hours Only +613 6165 4599
Radio: TasPorts Vessel Traffic Services
VHF radio channel 16/14/12
Call sign “relevant port name VTS"
The name, IMO number and radio call-sign of the ship must be provided, and a written message must commence with the code letters "POLREP". Basic information such as the location, nature of the spill or discharge and contact details should be provided.
A ship's master or other person reporting an incident may be required to provide a detailed written report, and a report form will be supplied where necessary.
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.