Compliance and enforcement

ACP 2013–14 Q3 summary report

The third quarter of EPA’s 2013-14 Annual Compliance Plan (ACP) was dominated by the sustained emergency response to the acute and long-running Hazelwood Open Cut Mine Fire. Nearly 20 per cent of all field work across Victoria between January and March was concerned with monitoring air and water quality in and around Morwell. Though some ACP targets have become ‘at risk’ following the fire response it demonstrates the flexibility of EPA; EPA officers were able to both respond to this unprecedented event and also focus on other critical work. During this period EPA officers continued work on highly sensitive or time-critical programs including offensive odour issues in the west of Melbourne and waste transfer stations in the North West region.

Strategic projects

There are several strategic projects ongoing across Victoria but we have chosen to highlight the two projects below.

Metro region

EPA has an ongoing strategic project addressing offensive odours in the Caroline Springs/Deer Park area, related to Boral and Pinegro Products. Between January and March EPA officers conducted 24 odour surveillance inspections in response to increased public pollution reports. EPA has since issued two Pollution Abatement Notices, one each to Pinegro and Boral, requiring them to address offensive odours. The community is encouraged to report strong, persistent odours to EPA at the time that they occur on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC).

North West region

A project to monitor practices at waste transfer stations in the North West region continued through quarter three. EPA is working with Regional Waste Management Groups (RWMGs) and local government to assess environmental risk at these sites and what controls are in place to mitigate those risks. Inspections will continue through May and the project is expected to be completed in June. Early results have found that the level of compliance by operators has been higher than expected.

Quarter 3 results

As part of EPA’s commitment to being a transparent and accountable regulator, it is publicly reporting on the work EPA officers have done and how the organisation has performed against the targets in the ACP. As of the end of March 2014 EPA’s results are summarised below.

In the table of results:

  Green indicates EPA has met or is on track to meet this target by June 2014
  Amber indicates EPA is not currently on track but expects to meet this target by June 2014
  Red indicates EPA will improve its performance in this area but doesn’t expect to meet this target by June 2014

Annual Compliance Plan targets  As of end Q3 Status
100% of inspected sites that have an identified operator receive an inspection report 99% of inspected sites have received a report On track
300 licensed sites inspected 287 inspections complete On track
90% notices complied with by due date or escalated in line with Compliance and Enforcement Policy 94% of notices complied or have been escalated On track
100 inspections related to construction, demolition and skip-bin hire businesses 51 inspections complete At risk
52 notices issued for illegal dumping of waste 86 remedial notices issued Achieved
100% of Annual Performance Statements (APSs) reviewed 100% of APSs reviewed Achieved
50 detailed APS audits completed (desktop or site-based) 8 inspections and 11 desktop assessments complete At risk
30 targeted inspections relating to waste certificates, National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) or Annual Performance Statements (APSs) 2 inspections complete At risk
30 closed, previously licensed landfills inspected with reform notices issued All inspections complete. 14 reformed notices issued, 12 drafted and awaiting comment, 4 in draft On track
130 high risk notices on the Priority Site Register inspected 102 notice sites inspected On track
95% of incidents requiring immediate attendance inspected 94% of incidents attended At risk
90% of incidents requiring planned attendance inspected 82% of incidents attended Off track

Due to the response and recovery work related to the Hazelwood Open Cut Mine Fire EPA has postponed some scheduled inspections related to illegal dumping and regulatory programs like APS, NPI and waste transport certificates. Completing these inspections is a focus for quarter 4. 

EPA is also falling just short of targets to attend high-risk pollution incidents. However, in many cases where EPA officers do not directly attend pollution incidents they respond by liaising with other incident management personnel already on site, including members of the CFA or local government officers, to manage any environmental risk. 

Between January and March, EPA officers conducted 829 inspections and issued 151 remedial notices, directing duty-holders to take action to address harm or risk to the environment or human health. EPA issued 12 official warnings and 6 environmental Penalty Infringement Notices of up to $7,000 each. In January Hyde Park Tank Depot Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to an air pollution charge and a breach of licence charge and was ordered to pay $40,000 to Western Melbourne Catchments Network Incorporated to manage and coordinate the funding of a seed production along Kororoit Creek and the Federation Trail at Altona. Hyde Park was also ordered to pay EPA’s costs of $13,825.30. 

Finally, during February and March 14 EPA employees completed an intensive 10-week training course to become Authorised Officers, capable of responding to pollution reports, inspecting for compliance and issuing remedial notices where they detect environmental harm.


Page last updated on 23 Feb 2015