Compliance and enforcement

Contaminated environments: Underground petroleum storage systems at service stations

Contamination can affect human health and the environment, depending on what and where the contamination is, how much there is of it and what the exposure pathways are.

One source of contamination is leaking underground petroleum storage systems (UPSSs) at service stations. The release of petroleum-based substances into the environment often results in significant impacts on groundwater and surface water ecosystems, makes the groundwater unsuitable for use and can pose a vapour risk to residential developments. UPSSs are a key concern due to their size and proximity to community.

EPA has established a project to reduce the unacceptable risk posed by contamination of soil and groundwater from UPSSs leaking at operational service stations.

What is EPA focusing on?

In 2014–15, the UPSS program aims to raise both the awareness and understanding of compliance standards and environmental risks associated with service stations. This will allow operators to manage any immediate and long-term impacts from their site. Part of this will be done through inspections on operating service stations, where the focus will be on leak detection monitoring and leak response at high-risk sites.

What can you do?

  • Ensure you have adequate monitoring mechanisms so that you can detect leaks from UPSSs.
  • If monitoring results indicate a potential leak, you must verify immediately, and if necessary, stop the leak as soon as possible. Consider seeking professional advice where needed.
  • Report any leak/spillage of product with the potential to migrate offsite and cause a risk to either people or the environment to EPA Victoria on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC)


Page last updated on 17 Aug 2015