The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has released a desktop guide for managers in an effort to assist operators with understanding and complying with incident prevention and management requirements around underground petroleum storage systems (UPSS).

The EPA Guide includes quick reference sheets on Spill Kits and actions to take in the event of a spill on site, leak investigation and loss monitoring, as well as general UPSS obligations and maintenance and system checks.

“This is a great reference for any manager of a UPSS site.  Clearly it does not cover all items to do with UPSS compliance, however it is an excellent prompt for managers to ensure that they are across the main areas, and provides guidance to locating further information and assistance.” Explains ACAPMA Executive Manager for Employment and Training Elisha Radwanowski.

Explaining that the guide should serve as a reminder for all operators, NSW EPA Executive Director of Hazardous Incidents and Environmental Health Sarah Gardner said “service station owners and operators in NSW are required to regularly check for leaks in the underground fuel tanks and pipes as part of their day-to-day monitoring and maintenance work. Any leaks or spills should be reported to the NSW EPA immediately.”

“If not checked regularly underground fuel tanks have the potential to leak, which can impact on the environment and lead to expensive clean-up bills. The EPA’s new guide features best practice information for preventing spills, leak investigations, clean up and maintenance procedures and will be a useful resource for operators to have on hand,” Sarah concluded.

“Designed as a combination A Frame and Hanging Flip Chart the EPA Guide contains great reminder information for managers, including a section on recording staff training, which is great to see”, continued Elisha.

“It is important that managers understand the areas they should be considering and addressing in regards to UPSS management, however it is often overlooked that site staff need to be briefed on environmental control measures too.  Site staff are the ones who are gathering the loss prevention data and who are expected to respond in the event of a spill or incident onsite.  It is therefore crucial then that they understand the importance of these actions within the broader framework of compliance and environmental safety.”

“This is one of the reason that Environmental Safety and Wetstock Management has such a focus within the training that the Association has developed for console operators, the Petroleum Convenience Compliance course (PCC).  Within the PCC the correct procedures for tank dipping, spill response and disposal of used spill kit materials is extensively covered along with the importance of these actions to achieve environmental protection.”

“Whether it is through a formal competency based training course like the PCC, or via a toolbox talk onsite it is important that managers take the time to explain to staff, not only the correct procedures, but also the importance of these actions, and the guide provides a prompt in this area.”

Commenting on the guide at a recent consultation meeting ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie noted “Guides like this help drive pro-active compliance, and assist operators in not only understanding the requirements, but also keeping maintenance, reporting and training front of mind.  I offer my thanks and congratulations to the NSW Environment Protection Authority on what is a detailed and well thought out resource for the industry”.

The EPA Guide is a NSW based resource, but provides information that constitutes best practice across the country.  ACAPMAg will be delivering a series of UPSS highlights that will include and build on the information in the guide over the coming weeks.

The EPA Guide is available from the EPA or operators can request a copy from ACAPMA by emailing employment@acapma.com.au.

The PCC is a comprehensive safety and compliance course, delivered and rigorously assessed online that is available to all operators in the industry.  For more information on the PCC email training@acapma.com.au.