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As Victoria grows, so do the number of sealed surfaces like roofs and roads. Rainfall on these sealed surfaces becomes surface run-off, or urban stormwater. Stormwater carries pollutants into waterways, wetlands, beaches and bays. Large amounts of urban stormwater cause erosion and harm aquatic ecosystems.

About the Urban stormwater best practice environmental guidelines

CSIRO published the Urban stormwater best practice environmental management guidelines (BPEM) in 1999. You can use these guidelines when planning, designing or managing stormwater systems or urban land uses.  

Under the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP) many developments must design urban stormwater systems to meet the BPEM objectives. This means you must reduce levels of certain substances compared to the typical urban annual load:

  • Suspended solids: 80 per cent 
  • Phosphorus and nitrogen: 45 per cent 
  • Litter: 70 per cent.

About our Draft urban stormwater management guidance

You can read the Draft urban stormwater management guidance (publication 1739) and provide your comments by Wednesday 16 December 2020.

To help you comment, we’ve published a Review of stormwater science (publication 1919). This supports the science behind the draft guidance and includes updated scientific knowledge of urban stormwater.

We’ve also published a Background information consultation guide (publication 1829). It aims to help you review the draft guidance and comment on it. The guide includes information about:

  • who the draft guidance is for
  • how the draft guidance was developed
  • what’s in the science review
  • proposed performance objectives
  • how we’ll put the draft guidance in place.

You can comment on matters like:

  • how the guidance helps you manage risk
  • whether the guidance includes all the information you need
  • potential barriers to implementation, including barriers to considering risk factors
  • percentage flow reductions you’re achieving now
  • metrics you currently use
  • what you do now to minimise risk of harm from activities that may contribute to urban stormwater runoff
  • your level of understanding of a risk-based approach
  • other factors involved in assessing risk of harm from creation of impervious surfaces .

We’ll consider proposed changes to the draft guidance such as:

  • minor administrative issues and error corrections
  • easily addressed suggestions for document restructure and rewording
  • stormwater performance objectives, when robust data and science support them
  • usability improvements and value adds.

We won’t consider proposed changes inconsistent with government policy. For example, where changes are inconsistent with Acts administered by EPA.

Submit your comments by email to urbanstormwaterbpem@epa.vic.gov.au. Contact us on 1300 372 842 or email urbanstormwaterbpem@epa.vic.gov.au for further information.

We may publish your comments as part of the consultation process. If you want your comments to remain anonymous, please let us know in writing when you submit your comments.

How the Draft urban stormwater guidance will be finalised and come into effect

After EPA has received and considered comments on the draft guidance, we’ll finalise the guidance. We’ll then update all parties who provided comments.

The reduction levels for solids, phosphorous and nitrogen are longstanding and are required under the VPP. The level of urban stormwater flow reduction to achieve will depend on what's reasonably practicable.

Through further analysis and consultation, the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) may consider changes to the VPP. DELWP will also look into options and principles to support development of offset arrangements.

EPA will engage with stakeholders on saved State Environment Protection Policy (SEPP) (Waters) clauses and the transition of obligations into the new framework.

Other stormwater work

Councils have obligations to develop stormwater management plans under Clause 34 (4) of the SEPP (Waters). Owners of stormwater assets have obligations to maintain those assets under Clause 34 (3).

We propose saving these clauses in Transitional Regulations for two years after the new Act begins. The new Act is intended to begin in 2021. EPA will investigate and engage on how these clauses might transition after 2023.

EPA will investigate the development of Orders for Managers of Land or Infrastructure where appropriate. We'll develop these with relevant land or infrastructure managers.

Victoria Planning Provisions

EPA’s new guidance won’t change existing VPP requirements for stormwater system design. DELWP may consider future updates to the VPP.

Stormwater guidance for construction sites, temporary protection measures and mobile businesses

Liquid storage and handling guidelines

Reviewed 8 October 2020