Incident Management: How to Handle A Pollution Incident at Your Facility

A pollution incident is a circumstance where there is a leak or spill of a liquid or material stored in a facility, including accidental and deliberate disposal or release around a facility. Any kind of pollution liquid, gas, or solid can be harmful to the environment and our health. If you have a business which stores liquid and/or produces waste, it is important to know how to take care of them as well as what to do in the case of an emergency. If an incident occurs, there are two steps which must be taken.

The first step is to implement your pollution incident response management plan. The New South Wales Environment Protection Authority (EPA), the main statutory of environmental regulation in NSW has created a guideline to help individuals and companies prepare a management plan for pollution incident response.

This guideline covers the formation of a management plan, which should include description and likelihood of site hazards, have an inventory of pollutants and safety equipment kept onsite, cover staff training exercises, and provide a list of post-incident response actions. A properly implemented management plan will minimise and even prevent the occurrence of pollution incidents which can threaten the health of both humans and the environment.

The second step is to immediately report the incident to the regulatory authority. Persons engaged in the activity resulting in the pollution incident, and occupiers of the land where the incident occurs, have a duty to report the incident under the “duty to notify pollution incidents” provision of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act (POEO Act). Incidents “posing material harm” to the environment must be reported to the EPA. The quicker you notify the EPA, the more effectively any emergency situation can be handled. If you fail to, or intentionally do not report the incident, you can be fined.

Following these two steps in the event of an emergency will help to secure your business while protecting the environment. Are you in need of safety equipment to secure any spills or leaks? SpillShop provides the most reliable equipment for spill response and liquid containment. Browse our product range, including drum bunds and spill kits, and find what you need to keep spills away from your drains.

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