EPA gives some powers to councils to manage pollution and waste issues under the Environment Protection Act 2017

The powers we give local councils cover:

  • noise
  • odour
  • dust
  • agricultural spray drift (when chemical spray affects nearby properties).


Councils play a major role in improving the environmental management of urban stormwater. This includes requirements under the State Environment Protection Policy (Waters of Victoria) which include:

  • developing stormwater management plans
  • implementing ways to manage new developments and drainage systems
  • monitoring and reporting to the community and other stakeholders on the impact of stormwater.

Councils use our support and guidance to help them meet their obligations.

Officers for the Protection of the Local Environment (OPLEs)

Officers for the Protection of the Local Environment (OPLEs) are EPA environment protection officers based in local councils. OPLEs and council officers respond to smaller-scale and lower risk waste and pollution complaints such as:

  • small scale illegal waste disposal
  • litter
  • noise
  • dust
  • odour from smaller business and industry
  • illegal chemical and waste stockpiling.

OPLEs add to the work councils already do in environment and public health protection.

An OPLE in a council doesn't change EPA’s work reducing pollution and waste at larger, more complex sites. EPA remains in charge of compliance, enforcement and action to prevent pollution in these situations. OPLEs help industry, business and community find, prevent and resolve environmental issues.

Find out about what OPLEs do and how they work with councils taking part in the program.

More about our partners

How EPA works with government

How EPA works with reference groups

Reviewed 6 November 2019