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EPA's major industries team works with Victoria’s largest and most complex industrial sites to identify and manage potential environmental risks.

Major industries are classified as those that generate large volumes of waste, discharge high volumes of emissions or treated effluent, or store or process large volumes of chemicals or hazardous materials. Typical sectors include refineries, power stations and chemical manufacturing.

Many of these sites are critical infrastructure and will have existing EPA licences with conditions and may already be identified by WorkSafe Victoria as a major hazard facility (MHF) and have a MHF licence.   

Major industries may also include large-scale manufacturers that are ceasing or reducing operations in Victoria and have the potential to leave considerable environmental legacies from past operations.

Major industries assessments

The major industries team conducts detailed audit-styled assessments on a range of large, complex industrial sites throughout Victoria. The assessment process includes a detailed  review of the duty holder's environmental management systems (EMS), with a focus on environmental risks identified, together with associated controls. The focus on the assessments ensures that the duty holder has identified key environmental risks and has appropriate controls in place to prevent harm to the environment. Where the industry is permitted under an EPA licence, the assessment checks to see that the industry is compliant with its licence. 

Assessments are held to ensure  the duty holder has identified its key environmental risks and has appropriate controls in place to prevent harm to the environment. If the industry is permitted under an EPA licence, an assessment will check if the industry is compliant with its licence.

Each year the major industries team assesses a selection of sites from a range of industrial sectors, both EPA-licensed and unlicensed. If your site is selected, EPA will contact you prior to the assessment to explain and guide you through the process.

Whether your site is selected or not, all should:

  • establish environmental conditions for your site and identify potential sources of contamination from current and historical site activities
  • be familiar with the environmental risks associated with site activities, and key controls required to manage these risks
  • demonstrate that risk based environmental monitoring programs are in place
  • ensure familiarity with EPA licence and notice requirements (if relevant)
  • establish procedures and systems to manage EPA licence compliance and to determine when activities are not complying with your EPA licence, permits or relevant standards
  • complete regular reviews of the environmental management system and address any deficiencies.

For more information, email: major.industries@epa.vic.gov.au

Read next

EPA Annual Plan

Compliance and Enforcement policy

Licence assessment guidelines (publication 1321)

Licence management (publication 1322)

EPA's programs and projects

EPA's past programs and projects

 

This page was copied from EPA's old website. It was last updated on 23 August 2019.

Major industries assessment process

  • Step 1: Pre-assessment analysis/engagement/document request 55(3)(a) Notice to Produce

    • EPA will contact you in writing to advise your company that your site has been selected for a Major Industry Assessment (MIA).
    • A major industry team member (lead assessor) will call you to arrange a meeting with you and your company respresentatives to explain the MIA process, your role in the process and a general timeline for the assessment. We will provide you with an agenda prior to the meeting.
    • The lead assessor will be your key contact throughout the MIA process.
    • We will meet you at your site to inform you and your company representatives about the MIA process and address any questions you may have.
    • We will discuss and then formally request information about your activities and operations, EMS, and any EPA licence monitoring you conduct. The information request will be formalised under a Section 55(3)(a) Notice to Produce. We will agree on a timeframe for you to provide the information to us to review.
    • We may conduct a site inspection to familiarize ourselves with your site and its activities and operations. This helps us understand the context of the site when reviewing the information provided. We will seek your advice regarding any site induction and safety considerations prior to attending your site.
    • We will arrange a tentative date and time where we will come back to conduct the on-site component of the MIA to verify information you have provided us.
  • Step 2: Site familiarisation/detailed desk-top analysis of documentation/scope

    • Upon receipt of your information request, under Section 55(3)(a), EPA will conduct a detailed desk-top assessment of your documents. We may seek additional information based on our review.
    • We will use the information provided to form the basis of our follow-up.
    • We will confirm a date(s) to conduct the on-site component of the MIA.
    • We will provide you with a scope of assessment (agenda) a week prior to our follow-up visit for you to review and provide comment on, and assist in your preparation for the assessment day.
  • Step 3: On-site component/verification

    • EPA will attend your premises and conduct the on-site component of the MIA.
    • We will ask you questions about your operations to validate information about your activities and operations, EMS and any licence monitoring you conduct and verify the environmental risk control measures you have in place.
    • We may request to look at specific parts of your operations and talk to your staff.
    • We will give you a briefing at the end of the on-site component to discuss our interim findings. 
    • Where a likely or actual statutory breach is observed, we will inform you and advise you on the actions we may take (Requirements).
    • Where we have identified opportunities for improvement we may give you interim advice (Requirements).
    • We may also request additional information identified during the on-site component to assist us with developing our findings. Any further information requested will be formalised under a Section 55(3)(a) Notice to Produce. We will agree on a timeframe for you to provide the additional information.
    • We will advise you on the timeframes for the inspection report and the Major Industry Assessment Report.
  • Step 4: Analysis of finding/reporting

    • EPA will provide a site inspection report outlining our attendance and any observations made during the on-site component.
    • Upon receipt of any further information requested, we will prepare a detailed MIA Report based on our observations and review of information provided. The reporting time will depend upon the complexity of the site, breadth of information provided and nature of any issues identified.
    • The Lead Assessor will communicate with you during the reporting period, and may provide advice regarding timelines and findings.
    • Where a statutory requirement is identified, this will be managed according to EPA’s Compliance and Enforcement Policy.
    • Where we have identified opportunities for improvement we make Recommendations. 
    • A draft MIA report will be provided to you for review and input. We will provide you with adequate time to review this document before we finalise it.
    • The lead assessor will advise you regarding the steps towards finalisation of the MIA Report.
  • Step 5: Post-assessment actions

    EPA will follow up/act on the outcomes of the MIA by:

    • Issuing Remedial Notice/s and/or Sanctions where a statutory requirement is identified as per EPA’s Compliance and Enforcement Policy.
    • Conduct a follow-up inspection to determine if the Recommendations (OFI) agreed to be adopted by your company have been implemented. This is done within a suitable timeframe to allow you to have implemented these actions.
    • The lead assessor will advise you regarding the actions arising from the MIA.

Reviewed 3 September 2020