Business, industry and planning guidance

Liquid storage and handling – guidance for business


Any liquid (hazardous or seemingly harmless) has the potential to pollute the environment and harm human health.

Spills and leaks can occur despite best efforts. Implementing preventative steps to minimise spills and leaks from occurring and from leaving your site helps you manage your responsibilities, prevent harm to the environment and human health, and helps you save money.

Liquid storage and handling guidelines

EPA’s Liquid storage and handling guidelines (publication 1698) has been published to help businesses with practical controls to ensure liquid substances are appropriately stored and handled to prevent spills. The guideline outlines the principles for preventing harm to the environment and human health when storing and handling liquid substances.

This guidance is intended to replace the Bunding guideline (publication 347).

The guideline refers to bulk storage as well as smaller containers or packaged storage of liquid substances, and to liquids that are considered ‘raw materials’, ‘product’ and those that are considered as ‘waste’.

If you store and/or handle liquids at your site, then this guide applies to you. Some examples of industries that should refer to this guide include (but are not limited to):

  • fast food outlets using and storing cooking oil
  • office buildings storing cleaning products
  • mechanics storing new and used oils including fuel
  • council depots using and storing paints, pesticides, oil and fuel
  • farms using and storing fuel and agricultural chemicals
  • food manufacturers producing fruit juice, milk etc.
  • chemical manufacturers using and storing industrial chemicals
  • service stations.

The fact sheet (publication 1700) contains information about preventing liquid leaks and spills from entering the environment.

poster (publication 1699) is also available for displaying onsite. 

More information

Also see the waste guidance page.

Page last updated on 3 Jul 2018