General environmental obligations
The EPA regulates a wide range of industrial practices such as air and noise emissions, waste and wastewater.
An Emergency Response Team (ERT) is on call 24/7 to manage emergency environmental pollution incidents.
This section provides details on the general environmental obligations of an EPA-licenced business. Contact us for further information or advice.
If your business releases emissions such as smoke, they should be properly controlled through a stack to make sure that:
- they are properly dispersed
- the local air quality is protected
- neighbours are not affected by noxious fumes or odours.
Businesses should also take special care to prevent ‘fugitive’ emissions, ie uncontrolled discharges that escape through the windows and doors of your premises.
When chemicals, waste or other potentially harmful materials are spilled in your workplace, they can enter the environment via drains and watercourses. They can also seep into the ground and contaminate the soil or groundwater.
You must develop good handling procedures for your workplace to minimise the chance of spills, as well as a spill management protocol to make sure spills are safely cleaned up.
Workplaces should have proper storage facilities in place for materials to ensure that any spills cannot escape into the environment.
Excessive noise is the largest source of complaints to the EPA.
Noise in South Australia is regulated by different jurisdictions based on the source of the noise. If you are affected by unwanted noise, please contact the appropriate authorities.
Commercial and industrial noise premises with an EPA Authorisation are subject to the Environment Protection (Commercial and Industrial Noise) Policy 2023 which sets out indicative noise levels based on the land use rules within the Planning and Design Code.
Site contamination generally arises from activities that have left substances in the soil or groundwater of a site that may harm the environment or human health.
Your business has a duty of care, known as the general environmental duty to make sure that only stormwater free of contaminants enters the stormwater drainage system. The stormwater drainage network is separate from the sewage system and it is important to understand the difference.
Paint, solvents, cleaning agents, dust, sand, washdown water and many other listed pollutants must not be washed or swept from your premises into the stormwater drainage system, either deliberately or due to rain or wind.
Information to help various industries and business manage their stormwater can be found using the links:
Waste should be viewed as a leftover resource that we do not always know what to do with. Ideally we should try to avoid producing waste in the first place, but of course this is not always possible.
The next best options are:
- to make waste suitable for reuse
- to recycle it into other products, or
- to dispose of properly as a last resort.
Visit our waste and recycling pages for helpful information and guidelines for industry.
Green Industries SA can assist with advice and guidance on waste and resource management, and circular economy.
Many water entities in South Australia are required to be licensed by the EPA.
The 5 South Australian water regulatory agencies (Office of the Technical Regulator, Department of Health and Ageing, the Essential Services Commission of South Australia, Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources and the Environment Protection Authority) have collaborated to clarify the purpose of technical reporting requirements and provide greater transparency for water industry entities.
The explanatory note for technical reporting requirements for water entities highlights the legislative and practical reasons why the EPA requests the data, what we do with it, and what benefits the data provide to industry, customers, and the environment.
Explanatory notes from other regulatory agencies can be found here: