High levels of petroleum contamination in groundwater can pose a risk to human health and the environment. Where high levels are detected, the Director EPA must be notified (using the Reporting LNAPL Contamination Form) and an assessment must be undertaken to determine the extent of contamination, the level of risk it poses and whether the contamination needs to be cleaned up.
Regulation 21 of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Underground Petroleum Storage Systems) Regulations 2020 (UPSS Regulations) contains details of requirements.
Contamination levels that require notification and assessment under the UPSS Regulations, are based on the presence of light non-aqueous phase liquid (LNAPL) contamination.
LNAPL contamination is defined as:
After 3 February 2020, the following notifications must occur:
- if a suitably qualified person (an environmental consultant who holds site contamination specialist certification under the Certified Environmental Practitioner (CEnvP(SC)) Scheme) becomes aware that LNAPL contamination has been detected in any monitoring well they must notify the Director via the
Reporting LNAPL Contamination Form, or
- if a relevant person becomes aware of LNAPL contamination in a monitoring well on or in the vicinity of the parcel of land on which the UPSS is situated, they must notify the Director via the Reporting LNAPL Contamination Form and notify all other relevant persons.
Notification must occur within 7 days of becoming aware of the LNAPL contamination.
Where LNAPL contamination was detected in a groundwater monitoring well on a parcel of land which contains a UPSS, between 1 January 2015 and 3 February 2020, a relevant person who knows or reasonably ought to know about the LNAPL contamination, must notify the Director via the Reporting LNAPL Contamination Form and notify all other relevant persons, by 3 August 2020.
A relevant person is defined as:
(a) an infrastructure owner of the storage system; and
(b) a system operator of the storage system; and
(c) a landowner of the storage system.
Where an Infrastructure Owner becomes aware of the LNAPL contamination they must also notify the Director using the Reporting LNAPL Contamination Form and commence an Environmental Site Assessment in accordance with Part 5 of the UPSS Regulations within 14 days of becoming aware of the LNAPL contamination.
Reporting LNAPL Contamination Form