It’s possible that pollution may still occur, even if you’ve made every reasonable effort to prevent it.

What to consider when determining what is reasonably practicable

  • The likelihood of harm from risks.
  • The consequences of harm from risks.
  • Access to knowledge and information about risks.
  • The availability and suitability of risk control measures.
  • The cost of eliminating or minimising risks.


Jim owns a service station and has put in place all the appropriate environmental management measures to identify and eliminate risks. He installed bollards surrounding each bowser, but a person has deliberately driven over the bowsers causing fuel to spill.

Jim acts to clean up the pollution and restore the environment to the state it was before the pollution took place. Because Jim has taken all reasonably practicable steps for the level of risk, he will not have breached the law, and won’t be subject to any penalty.

Read more about reducing harm from pollution and waste

Dealing with pollution incidents

Managing contaminated environments

Managing waste

Environment reference standards

Reviewed 28 October 2019