This index holds information on the EPA's environmental authorisations. The information you will see includes licence name, address and location, as well as the activity(ies) that the licence covers, the duration (term) of the licence and the specific conditions of the licence.
Frequently asked questions
What is an environmental authorisation?
Under the Environment Protection Act 1993, the EPA administers 3 types of authorisations: licences, exemptions and works approvals
Licences make up the significant majority (approximately 95%) of authorisations administered by the EPA. It is common for the term licence to be used interchangeably with the term authorisation.
The information you will see includes licence name, address and location, as well as the activity(ies) that the licence covers, the duration (term) of the licence and the specific conditions of the licence.
Some licence conditions may refer to the existence of attachments and related documents eg environment management plans (EMP) and environment improvement programs (EIP). These documents are not on the website, but can be requested by contacting the EPA on 8204 2004 or email.
Please quote the licence number when making your request and note that a fee may apply for accessing this information. Read for further information about fees.
This index is updated daily as licences are documents that are subject to change.
Why do we need environmental licensing?
Licensing is a fundamental tool under the Environment Protection Act 1993 to control risks and reduce environmental impacts. It provides the EPA with the power to regulate activities undertaken by South Australian businesses or industry that pose significant risk to the environment.
Licensing is a positive way and a critical tool that the EPA uses to work actively with industry to safeguard against public and environment harm.
What is a licence?
Certain types of industries and businesses need an EPA licence in order to operate. These range from large cement manufacturers, electricity generators and wastewater treatment plants to foundries, abattoirs and shipyards.
A full list of these industries can be found in Schedule 1 of the Environment Protection Act 1993 (EP Act) – ‘prescribed activities of environmental significance’.
A licence aims to control and minimise pollution and waste by setting conditions that the licensee must meet to minimise potential harm to the environment and people who live nearby.
Licence conditions may relate to outcomes including discharge limits, compliance with management plans or environment improvement programs) or infrastructure requirements such as bunding for liquid containment.
A licence is a public document, and is available in the Public Register.
What is an exemption?
Under certain circumstances an exemption is granted to allow a business to operate outside of the prescribed minimum standards under the Environment Protection Act 1993 and/or environment protection policies (referred to as EPPs).
An exemption might include a company being exempted from section 34 of the Act in relation to clause 15(1)(a) of the Environment Protection (Water Quality) Policy 2015. In this example, the EPA may permit wastewater from fish processing activities to be discharged to the marine environment where this wastewater is otherwise prohibited from being discharged to sewer because of high salinity levels.
What is a works approval?
Under some circumstances a works approval is granted to allow a business to carry out construction, alteration or installation of a building, structure, plant or equipment to be used for a licensed activity.
A works approval is generally not required if the works have already been subject to the development assessment process under the Development Act 1993. In this circumstance the EPA may already have had the opportunity to provide comment or set conditions through powers conferred under the Development Act.
The works approval application is similar to a development application. It consists of an environmental assessment carried out for the EPA prior to considering a licence application.
How does the EPA check that a authorisation holder is compliant with their licence?
The EPA’s regulatory effort is focused on activities that pose a higher risk of environmental harm.
This means the EPA has a targeted program for assessing licence compliance. The EPA works with its regulatory partners and licensees, and uses a range of tools to ensure compliance with licence conditions. Examples include site inspections, industry audits, environmental monitoring and progress reporting requirements.
Where appropriate, the EPA can set compliance limits and monitoring requirements as part of environmental authorisation conditions.
Licensees also have a responsibility to notify the EPA where material or serious environmental harm from pollution is caused or threatened to be caused. Failure to notify is an offence under the Act.
What does the EPA do if non-compliance is found?
The EPA holds significant environmental legislation power. It has access to a range of compliance tools to ensure that all reasonable and practicable measures are taken to protect, restore and enhance the quality of the environment. Where there is a risk of harm to the environment, the EPA will act quickly and decisively, and take legal action if warranted.
The EPA will employ a balanced and principled approach to the use of compliance and enforcement tools so that if enforcement powers are necessary, they are applied in a consistent, fair and transparent manner.There is further information about the EPA’s compliance and enforcement strategy, and the regulatory options and tools that can be applied to manage non-compliance.
Why do some authorisations have different conditions even when similar activities are conducted?The EPA uses a risk-based approach to applying licence conditions. At the most basic level, standard administrative conditions are applied to all environmental authorisations. Beyond this, the EPA establishes conditions with each authorisation holder according to factors such as:
- previous compliance history
- new technologies that may have been installed on site that reduce environmental risk
- the location of the activities and proximity to vulnerable receptors such as watercourses or higher density urban living
- age of equipment and infrastructure
- effective implementation of plans and processes in place to best manage environmental risks
- specific issues on site requiring action that are identified during compliance inspections, audits or monitoring reports.
How often are authorisations reviewed?
The EPA generally reviews environmental authorisations upon renewal, where environmental circumstances exist that requires an urgent review or where a change in activity process or technology necessitates an amendment.
The EPA works with industry and community groups to ensure that environmental authorisations contain appropriate conditions to manage pollution and potential environmental harm.
Is there the opportunity for community input into authorsation conditions?
When a company applies for a new authorisation, an additional site or activity to be added to their existing authorisation or an existing condition has been relaxed, the EPA will provide the community with the opportunity to comment. A relaxation is when a condition is made less stringent.
A public notice is published in a newspaper circulating generally in the state (and if deemed appropriate, the local newspaper), and the EPA will write to adjacent land owner/occupiers within 60 metres of the facility about the application and the type of activity that is being proposed. Members of the public will be given a minimum period of at least 14 days to submit comments.
Once all comments are received, the EPA provides copies to the applicant – with personal details removed – and the applicant has the opportunity to respond to the issues raised. The EPA then considers both the public submissions and the applicants response in any decisions about granting or varying an authorisation.
The EPA believes that for a licensee to be a good environmental performer, it has to meet both its environmental obligations and also consider the impact of its operations on local communities.
Licensees are encouraged to actively work with their local community, particularly in relation to any off-site impacts. For example, a licensee may be required by conditions of licence to undertake public consultation with the local community when they are developing an environmental improvement program (EIP).
How do I contact the EPA if I have questions about the environmental authorisations or want access to more information?
For more information about environmental authorisations held on the Public Register contact (08) 8204 2004 or 1800 623 445 (country callers only) during business hours, or email