How EPA is supporting Victorians during coronavirus

EPA will continue to prioritise delivery of our compliance and enforcement, and pollution response activities. Our focus is to prevent harm from pollution and waste. 

The health and wellbeing of our employees remains crucial. We’re also focussed on reducing the impact of disruptions to our regulatory activities. 

We have: 

  • a continuity plan  
  • put in place our pandemic plan 
  • processes that allow us to continue to deliver our regulatory work. 

We’re in constant communication with our staff, regulatory partners and government. We’re closely monitoring the situation and will continue to focus our effort where it’s most needed. 

What EPA expects from duty holders during coronavirus

We recognise the challenge coronavirus presents. 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.

You must: 

  • 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 30A of the Environment Protection Act 1970. If you believe your business will need this, contact us as early as possible. We’ll assess applications on a case-by-case basis.

Extension for licence holders to submit annual performance statement

Each financial year EPA licence holders must submit their annual performance statement (APS) between 1 July and 30 September for the previous financial year. We’ll grant a two-month extension for licence holders to submit their APS. Submissions open on 1 July 2020. Licence holders must submit their APS by 30 November 2020.

If you have an EPA remedial notice

If a duty holder (licenced or unlicenced) has a remedial notice with compliance dates approaching and they are unable to meet the compliance dates set out in the notice due to the impacts of coronavirus, they should apply to EPA for an extension of time by filling out the amendment request at least 7 days prior to the compliance due date and submit to EPA for consideration. Duty Holders must specify how restrictions have impacted their ability to comply and suggest a new date to achieve compliance with each requirement.

Information on how to apply for an amendment.

Changes to Onsite Wastewater Management Systems (OWMS) timeframes

EPA acknowledges the impact that coronavirus (COVID-19) has had on some secondary onsite wastewater treatment manufacturers. Specifically, the restrictions on movements, including border closures, make it challenging for some manufacturers to undertake testing against Australian Standard AS 1546.3:2017 by the compliance date of 30 December 2020.

EPA would like to assist impacted secondary onsite wastewater treatment manufacturers and they may request in writing to EPA, an extension of the compliance date for AS 1546.3:2017. These requests will need to be received by 31 October 2020 and must meet the following criteria:

  1. It must relate to secondary treatment system with an existing certification of conformity (COC) under AS/NZS 1546.3:2008 On-site domestic wastewater treatment units, Part 3: Aerated wastewater treatment system; and
  2. The manufacturer must demonstrate that the restrictions have impacted their ability to complete AS1546.3:2017 certification at accredited testing facilities by 31 December 2020.

Manufacturers that meet the criteria above can submit their request to contact@epa.vic.gov.au

Plastic Bags

To assist businesses during current circumstances, EPA has extended its support to comply period for the plastic bag ban until 31 December 2020.

Find out how to comply with the plastic bag ban.

Coronavirus updates and resources from EPA

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Disposing PPE at home and in the workplace (publication 1898)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Disposing clinical waste (publication 1901)

Coronavirus update from EPA’s CEO (15 March)

New Act delayed to support Victorians to focus on dealing with coronavirus

Coronavirus: EPA’s role in regulating noise

Waste and recycling during coronavirus

How to stay up to date on coronavirus

It’s important to follow advice from: 

Follow EPA on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

Follow coronavirus updates at www.emergency.vic.gov.au 

Reviewed 17 September 2020