Compliance and enforcement

Incident response activities for 2014–15

Incident response inspections are reactive compliance inspections focused on minimising harm from pollution events, identifying the source of the pollution and if warranted, taking enforcement action.

Incident response activities are inspections and other assessments that aim to address environmental pollution identified through reports of pollution made by the public, emergency incident notifications, duty holder notifications, co-regulator reports or other information sources. EPA receives pollution reports from the public, local communities, businesses and other government and non-government organisations on the EPA pollution hotline, 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC).

EPA conducts a risk-based assessment of reports to ensure that we respond appropriately. The assessment considers the risk to the environment and human health, and the likelihood EPA officers will find the pollution, detect the source and address the issue. Based on the outcome of this assessment, EPA may conduct an inspection, work with co-regulators to address the issue, or take no immediate action but log the report to contribute to future intelligence. For more information about reporting pollution and this assessment, visit the Get involved section on EPA’s website.

The law requires you to manage the movement of materials off your site. You will be legally responsible for any discharge, regardless of the circumstances, and you will be required to fix it. Evidence strongly indicates that the cost of prevention is cheaper than the cost of cleanup, so your best course of action is to focus on preventing issues from arising.

During a response inspection, EPA authorised officers will determine the source of the pollution by tracing the discharge back to a site. If the problem cannot be resolved immediately by the site operator, officers will issue a notice to fix the problem. If the problem is serious and it is evident that the operator has done nothing to prevent the discharge, officers may also collect evidence to serve a fine or to prosecute.

What can you do?

  • Businesses are not always aware of their impact on surrounding communities, especially with regard to noise and odour. As a responsible business owner, you can talk to your neighbours and take measures to address any major concerns that they have.
  • To avoid illegal discharges of waste from site, consider how any smoke, liquids, powders or solids could leave your site and contaminate land, groundwater or the stormwater system, and ensure you have systems in place to manage any spills.
  • If there is any waste discharged from your site, contain it as much as possible and immediately contact EPA on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC).

Reporting pollution and environmental hazards

The Victorian community has a vital role in protecting the environment. EPA relies on the community to report incidents of pollution, environmental hazards or other activities potentially harmful to the environment. As discussed in the Incident response activities section this plan, these reports are prioritised to ensure we address the highest risk reports quickly.

If you observe pollution, dumping of industrial waste or an activity or issue that presents a hazard to the environment, please call 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) immediately. More detail included in your report will help EPA correctly prioritise and respond to the pollution event.

The Reporting pollution section of EPA’s website provides further information on what matters should be reported to EPA.

1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC)

Page last updated on 25 Feb 2015