How EPA is supporting Victorians during coronavirus
As Victoria continues to navigate the challenges of coronavirus (COVID-19), EPA is focused on preventing harm from pollution and waste, maintaining the health and safety of our people, and working with industry, businesses and our community to best manage the impacts of the pandemic.
We’re also focused on reducing the impact of disruptions to our regulatory activities through the implementation of our business continuity and pandemic plans, and processes that enable us to continue our regulatory work.
EPA's support for duty holders
We acknowledge the significant compliance challenges during the pandemic and are looking at ways we can assist our duty holders to meet their regulatory requirements and minimise the risk of harm to our environment and human health.
Where possible, we will streamline or adjust compliance requirements for duty holders experiencing significant impacts in the following areas:
We recognise the current pressures on waste transport and disposal operators, particularly on driver availability and the need to permit new vehicles quickly.
Duty holders requiring support with vehicle permits that may have been impacted or changed by the pandemic can contact EPA by calling 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842 – we’re here 24 hours) or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance with lodging urgent permit applications.
We understand increases in clinical waste volumes (as well as other wastes) combined with transport capacity challenges may lead to onsite accumulation and create hazards.
To reduce pressure on the waste supply chain and ensure risks are being managed, we can grant emergency approvals to vary storage limits and waste disposal options, where the pandemic has impacted your ability to meeting transport and disposal requirements.
We can do this under section 157 of the Environment Protection Act 2017. If you believe your business will need this, contact us as early as possible. Applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
We will continue to complete compliance checks to monitor for fire risk.
Financial impacts on business
Duty holders experiencing severe financial impacts due to the pandemic can contact us to discuss further, including fees payable under the Environment Protection Act 2017 or Environment Protection Regulations 2021.
Applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and supporting information will need to be provided that demonstrates how businesses have been impacted by the pandemic.
Business continuity plans
We recommend all duty holders create and adopt a business continuity plan. It’s essential to decide what should happen in the short to medium term and consider longer-term impacts. Always follow state and federal governments’ advice, and any specific health advice for your sector.
As a duty holder, you remain responsible for environmental impacts from your activities. Keep this in mind when you’re making business continuity plans.
- maintain your equipment and manage stockpiles in line with your licence conditions to make sure that pollution doesn't occur
- meet your duty when you dispose of solid and liquid waste to licensed facilities.
Duty holders in the waste industry should communicate with clients and EPA if they predict service disruptions.
If you conduct your activities under an EPA licence or other approval, you must continue to comply with your existing conditions.
We can grant emergency approvals for discharge or storage of waste in certain circumstances. We can do this under section 157 of the Environment Protection Act 2017. If you believe your business will need this, contact us as early as possible. We’ll assess applications on a case-by-case basis.
Extending compliance deadlines
If a duty holder, permitted or otherwise, has a compliance requirement and is unable to meet their compliance dates due to the impacts of coronavirus, they should apply to EPA for an extension.
You can do this by contacting EPA at least seven days prior to your compliance due date. Duty holders must specify how the pandemic has impacted their ability to comply, suggest a new date to achieve compliance with each requirement, and specify any interim actions to mitigate the impact of the requested delay.
Coronavirus updates and resources from EPA
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Reviewed 9 February 2022