The new requirement for Pollution Incident Response Management Plans (PIRMP) has been the subject of a fair amount of discussion and debate. The EPA recently published draft guidelines on the new requirements for PIRMPs, including details of proposed regulations to complement the amendments to the POEO Act. Some more notable aspects include requirements to:
- detail hazards to human health and the environment, the likelihood of such hazards occurring, and the actions to be taken if such hazards occur in the PIRMP;
- identify potential pollutants at the premises, including quantity and location of such pollutants and safety equipment available;
- publish names and contact details of various employees or parties with responsibilities under the PIRMP;
- detail the safety equipment and infrastructure to be used to minimise risk to human health and environment and to contain or control the impacts of a pollution incident;
- set out the procedures for notification in response to any incident;
- publish monitoring data on the licensee’s website for two years, including emission limits and details of sampling;
- include a detailed map of the premises and surrounding area; and
- provide training on and test the PIRMP.
As waste transportation is not premises-based, there are some different requirements proposed for PIRMPs in respect of waste transportation.
Concerns have been raised that the requirements to publish certain information, including the location and nature of potential pollutants, combined with plant layout and contact details, could cause security, privacy and commercial in confidence issues. The EPA advised on 1 February 2012, that it is consulting with NSW Police in respect of any security issues that the requirement to publish such details may cause.