Role statement - Environmental Protection Authority

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) provides a technical support agency role in Victoria’s emergency management arrangements. Technical advice is provided before, during and after emergencies to the Control agency, government, industry and the community through scientific, engineering and regulatory expertise on the environmental and public health impacts of pollution and waste.

The Chief Environmental Scientist (CES) has an important role during emergencies involving significant pollution consequences by supporting the Emergency Management Commissioner, State Controller and Chief Health Officer with expert advice on the practical measures to protect the environment and public health from the impacts of pollution and waste. The CES also provides a trusted and authoritative public face for the communication of complex pollution and waste advice.
 

Activity

Critical task alignment / activity source

Mitigation

 

In applying and enforcing the Environment Protection Act the EPA provides technical support in the prevention, mitigation and risk reduction of pollution and waste emergencies by:

 

●  working with government, industry and community to help identify and manage significant waste and pollution risks

1.2, 1.4

   

●  supporting regional and state emergency management planning.

1.2

   

●  managing systems for the transport of priority waste from generation to disposal

10.4, 16.8

   

●  equipping government, industry and community with best practice guidance and practical tools to prevent pollution and manage waste

4.5, 4.6

   

EPA is a participating agency, as shown in the Mitigation table (Table 8), for the following hazardous materials (including hazardous materials/industrial waste) incident mitigation activities:
●  reduction/substitution of HAZMAT use (including inventory minimisation)

●  HAZMAT storage design and maintenance (including transport design)

●  HAZMAT transport requirements (e.g. prohibitions, material volume and selection, route and timing selection, transport mode, stakeholder engagement (e.g. WorkSafe Victoria, FRV, VicRoads, transporter, receiver)

●  pre-transport consequence modelling and readiness - plume modelling, etc.

●  Dangerous Goods transporter maintenance, training, licensing, inspection etc. (road/rail/marine, pipeline) - licence for transport of hazardous waste

●  legislation/regulation and enforcement (e.g. Major Hazard Facilities, Dangerous Goods Code preventative requirements), supported by audits and inspection

Mitigation table

   

Response (including Relief)

 

EPA is the lead Response Support Agency (RSA) for the functional area of environmental impact (air, land and water quality), as shown in the Response Support table (Table 10)

Response Support table

   

EPA provides a technical support agency role by:

 

●  responding to and assessing reports of pollution from the community, industry, government agencies and emergency services

3.2, 4.4, 16.2

   

●  providing expert advice to the Chief Health Officer on the risks of pollution and waste on public health, as required

4.5, 4.6

   

●  supporting the control and other support agencies with powers under the Environment Protection Act where required

3.2

   

●  in cooperation with the control agency, providing advice to the community on the harmful effects of pollution and waste and recommend actions to protect public health

2.1, 2.3

   

●  advice to the control agency on risks to the environment and public health, and the practical measures to reduce environmental and public health impacts of pollution and waste from the emergency and response activities

4.5, 4.6, 13.2, 13.4

   

●  providing and co-ordinating with other support agencies for environmental monitoring to inform the provision of advice

16.2

   

Recovery

 

EPA provides a technical support agency role by providing:

 

●  emergency approvals, such as Section 30A approvals under the Environment Protection Act

4.6, 13.2, 13.3

   

●  advice and information services to recovery agencies, municipal councils, duty holders and community on; the environmental and public health impacts of pollution and waste, environmental clean-up methods and appropriate disposal of waste

4.5, 4.6

   

Assurance and Learning

 

In applying and enforcing the Environment Protection Act the EPA provides technical support in the prevention, mitigation and risk reduction of pollution and waste emergencies by undertaking regulatory, enforcement and investigative activities under the Environment Protection Act

21.1