A voluntary checklist from Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) which led to service stations improving the safety of their underground fuel tanks in 2015 is set to return.
EPA’s 2015 program for underground petroleum storage systems (UPSS) approached service-station operators with a voluntary ‘Monitoring for Leaks’ checklist and survey that allowed them to check their own compliance with environmental regulations. Ninety per cent responded and more than 200 committed to making improvements.
EPA Executive Director Practice & Assurance Chris Webb says this year’s repeat of the survey will help service-station operators reduce their risk of causing pollution and health hazards that come from leaking underground petrol tanks.
“We had great results in 2015, and EPA is now going back to the same 1,400 service stations with a survey that will measure how well the safety improvements have lasted, and to keep the good work going,” he said.
“Underground fuel tanks have been a common source of land and groundwater contamination, and service stations have received a lot of fines and official clean-up notices over the years.
“The voluntary checklist was a new approach, equipping them to assess their own procedures and equipment for leak prevention, and take action to fix the problems well before pollution occurs, and before EPA’s inspectors show up.
“While EPA can still use fines where there is negligence or a wilful breach of regulations, the voluntary approach is doing more for the environment and public safety than fines alone can achieve. At the end of the day, EPA would much rather prevent problems than fine businesses.”
This year’s Monitoring for Leaks checklist will be sent out to service stations shortly. Operators can see the results of the 2015 survey and find useful advice on EPA’s website at www.epa.vic.gov.au/upss.