News & Insights


What Has Changed with the New UPSS Regulation of NSW?

30 October 2019

Underground petroleum storage systems (UPSS) are primarily found at service stations or sites where fuel is frequently used such as depots, airports and car dealerships. They pose risks to human health and the environment in the occurrence of a leak, where the contents may contaminate surrounding land and groundwater.

From 1st September 2019, most sites with UPSS in New South Wales are regulated under the Protection of the Environment Operations (Underground Petroleum Storage Systems) Regulation 2019 (UPSS Regulation). This aims to minimise the risk to human health and the environment by requiring best practice design, installation, maintenance, and monitoring of UPSS in New South Wales.


Key Changes Under the New UPSS Regulations


Transfer of regulatory authority of the UPSS Regulation to local councils

The responsibility for enforcement of the UPSS Regulation has been transferred to local councils (from 1 September 2019) with the following exception:

  • The EPA retains regulatory responsibility for those UPSS managed and operated by public authorities and those in the unincorporated areas of the state, as well as those UPSS subject to an existing notice, direction or requirement (that is a notice issued prior to 1 September 2019 and still in force at that date) and for UPSS subject to an environment protection license.


Requirements to comply with Australian Standard 4897 (2008) “the design, installation, and operation of UPSS

Requirement to have Fuel System Operation Plan (FSOP) documentation in place. This is new terminology introduced to replace "Environmental Protection Plan" (EPP):

  • “The person responsible for a storage system must not use the storage system, or authorise or permit the use of the storage system”


All UPSS must have a loss-monitoring and leak detection system

This may be either groundwater monitoring wells or alternative leak detection system

  • The person responsible for a storage system must not use the storage system or authorise or permit the use of the storage system, unless a leak detection system has been installed on the storage site in accordance with the requirements specified in the regulation.

Some exemptions still apply


30-days’ notice prior to decommission a UPSS system

Introduction of a requirement for 30-days’ notice to be given to local councils by the person responsible prior to decommission a UPSS system


Take action within 60 days

Take action after notifying a discrepancy, loss or leak (notification requirements apply to some incidents)


Reporting requirements

Documents are to be kept for 7 years from the date of creation:

  • Record of significant modifications
  • Notice and report of system being decommissioned
  • Report to be prepared after tank removed or replaced
  • Incident log


Old UPSS definition has been removed

There are no more exemptions to UPSS commissioned before 2008


How Greencap can help

If your properties contain UPSS and you are unsure of their compliance, Greencap can conduct inspections and provide our advice regarding compliance, including recommendations of actions to ensure compliance or apply for an exemption where relevant.

Greencap’s team also provides support in preparing FSOPs and installation of groundwater and soil vapour monitoring systems.