What is an EPA licence?
Industries that conduct certain types of activities, particularly those that discharge emissions into the air, land or water, are required to have an authorisation, or licence, from the EPA. The licence sets out conditions under which the company must operate to minimise any risk of harm to the environment.
Why does the Adelaide Desalination Plant need a licence?
The Adelaide Desalination Plant discharges salt water into the Gulf St Vincent. The plant also uses and stores water treatment chemicals on site. Both of these activities require an EPA licence.
What is the process for issuing a licence?
When a company applies for a licence, the EPA advertises the application and invites the public to make written submissions related to the application. The EPA then considers the submissions in deciding what conditions it will impose as part of the licence. The EPA may also impose requirements, based on its knowledge of similar industries, or based on scientific assessment. The process may take several months.
What will happen to my comments?
The EPA has regard to written submissions in deciding what conditions to impose on the licence. Copies of submissions are provided to the licence applicant, with personal details such as names and addresses removed. The EPA may ask the applicant to advise how it plans to address issued raised in the submissions.
The EPA does not post copies of submissions on its website.
It may not be possible, due to technical, scientific or other reasons, for all comments to be reflected in the final licence conditions but, where possible, the EPA is mindful of the community’s feedback in determining those conditions.
Will the licence be made public?
All EPA licences are publicly available documents and can be access from the online public register.
Can the EPA withhold a licence?
The Adelaide Desalination Plant has received approval as a Major Development, which means it has already demonstrated it can meet a range of environmental criteria and has prepared an environmental impact statement.
A licence for the plant has been granted with conditions imposed.
How will the EPA monitor the plant to ensure it complies with the licence?
As part of the conditions of a licence, the EPA often requires licensees to undertake ongoing monitoring of their activities and report the results to the EPA.
In addition, the EPA conducts inspections of premises to ensure they are complying with their licence. Members of the public can contact the EPA to raise any concerns they have about the operation of any licensed company, and the EPA will act to investigate formal complaints. Where any licensee does not comply with their licence, the EPA has a range of enforcement options to ensure any non-compliance is dealt with.