Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 No 156
In this Act—
Note.The Interpretation Act 1987 contains definitions and other provisions that affect the interpretation and application of this Act.
activity means an industrial, agricultural or commercial activity or an activity of any other nature whatever (including the keeping of a substance or an animal).
air impurity includes smoke, dust (including fly ash), cinders, solid particles of any kind, gases, fumes, mists, odours and radioactive substances.
air pollution means the emission into the air of any air impurity.
aircraft includes a remotely piloted aircraft, an unmanned aircraft system or a drone.
—see section 6.
asbestos has the same meaning as it has in Schedule 1.
asbestos waste has the same meaning as it has in Schedule 1.
means a person appointed under Part 7.2 by an appropriate regulatory authority.
Chairperson means the Chairperson of the EPA appointed under Division 3 of Part 5 of the Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991.
clean-up action, in relation to a pollution incident, includes—
(a) action to prevent, minimise, remove, disperse, destroy or mitigate any pollution resulting or likely to result from the incident, and
(b) ascertaining the nature and extent of the pollution incident and of the actual or likely resulting pollution, and
It also includes (without limitation) action to remove or store waste that has been disposed of on land unlawfully.
(c) preparing and carrying out a remedial plan of action.
control equipment means any apparatus or device used or designed—
(a) to prevent, limit or regulate pollution (including any emission of noise), or
(b) to monitor or to give warning of pollution (including any emission of noise), or
and includes any apparatus or device that, though not so used, is or would, if properly maintained and operated, be capable (without modification) of being so used, but does not include any apparatus or device prescribed as excluded from this definition. An apparatus or device can be control equipment whether or not it is used for additional purposes or designed for other or additional purposes.
(c) to give warning of any emission, leak, spill or other escape of substances causing pollution,
ecologically sustainable development has the same meaning as in section 6 (2) of the Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991.
enforcement officer—see section 226.
environment means components of the earth, including—
(a) land, air and water, and
(b) any layer of the atmosphere, and
(c) any organic or inorganic matter and any living organism, and
and includes interacting natural ecosystems that include components referred to in paragraphs (a)–(c).
(d) human-made or modified structures and areas,
Note.This definition follows that in the Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991.
environment protection legislation has the same meaning as in the Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991.
environment protection licence means a licence authorising the carrying out of scheduled development work or scheduled activities or controlling the pollution of water arising from non-scheduled activities, being a licence issued under Chapter 3 and in force.
environment protection notice means a clean-up notice, prevention notice or prohibition notice issued under Chapter 4 and in force.
environmental audit—see section 172.
environmental planning instrument means an environmental planning instrument within the meaning of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
environmental values of water means the environmental values of water specified in the Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality 2000, published by the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council and the Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand, as in force from time to time.
EPA means the Environment Protection Authority constituted by the Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991.
exercise a function includes perform a duty.
function includes a power, authority or duty.
green offset scheme—see section 295O.
green offset works—see section 295P.
Green Offsets Fund means the Fund established under section 295U.
harm to the environment includes any direct or indirect alteration of the environment that has the effect of degrading the environment and, without limiting the generality of the above, includes any act or omission that results in pollution.
Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment means the agreement made on 1 May 1992 between the Commonwealth, the States, the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and the Australian Local Government Association (a copy of which is set out in the Schedule to the National Environment Protection Council (New South Wales) Act 1995).
land pollution or pollution of land means placing in or on, or otherwise introducing into or onto, the land (whether through an act or omission) any matter, whether solid, liquid or gaseous—
(a) that causes or is likely to cause degradation of the land, resulting in actual or potential harm to the health or safety of human beings, animals or other terrestrial life or ecosystems, or actual or potential loss or property damage, that is not trivial, or
but does not include placing in or on, or otherwise introducing into or onto, land any substance excluded from this definition by the regulations.
(b) that is of a prescribed nature, description or class or that does not comply with any standard prescribed in respect of that matter,
licence means an environment protection licence.
licence application means an application for the issue, transfer, variation or surrender of a licence.
Ports and Maritime Administration Act 1995 or Roads and Maritime Services.means the Minister administering the
marine park has the same meaning as it has in the Marine Estate Management Act 2014.
motor vehicle has the same meaning as it has in the Road Transport Act 2013.
national environment protection measure means a national environment protection measure made under the National Environment Protection Council (New South Wales) Act 1995 and in force.
means all waters that are from time to time capable of navigation and are open to or used by the public for navigation, whether on payment of a fee or otherwise, but does not include flood waters that have temporarily flowed over the established bank of a watercourse.
noise includes sound and vibration.
noise pollution means the emission of offensive noise.
non-scheduled activity means an activity that is not a scheduled activity and is not scheduled development work.
occupier of premises means the person who has the management or control of the premises.
offensive noise means noise—
(a) that, by reason of its level, nature, character or quality, or the time at which it is made, or any other circumstances—(i) is harmful to (or is likely to be harmful to) a person who is outside the premises from which it is emitted, or(ii) interferes unreasonably with (or is likely to interfere unreasonably with) the comfort or repose of a person who is outside the premises from which it is emitted, or
(b) that is of a level, nature, character or quality prescribed by the regulations or that is made at a time, or in other circumstances, prescribed by the regulations.
offensive odour means an odour—
(a) that, by reason of its strength, nature, duration, character or quality, or the time at which it is emitted, or any other circumstances—(i) is harmful to (or is likely to be harmful to) a person who is outside the premises from which it is emitted, or(ii) interferes unreasonably with (or is likely to interfere unreasonably with) the comfort or repose of a person who is outside the premises from which it is emitted, or
(b) that is of a strength, nature, duration, character or quality prescribed by the regulations or that is emitted at a time, or in other circumstances, prescribed by the regulations.
open fire or fire in the open means any fire in which the products of combustion are not directed to the open air by a stack or chimney.
owner of a motor vehicle includes the responsible person for the vehicle within the meaning of the Road Transport Act 2013.
owner of waste or other substances does not include (in any provision under which a person commits an offence in the capacity of owner) a financial institution that is acting solely as a holder of a security interest in the waste or other substances. In that case, the person who has control of the waste or other substances is taken to be the owner.
penalty notice—see section 223 (What is a penalty notice?).
plant means any plant, equipment, apparatus, device, machine or mechanism, and includes any vessel, dredge, unit of rolling stock or crane, but does not include a motor vehicle.
(a) water pollution, or
(b) air pollution, or
(c) noise pollution, or
(d) land pollution.
pollution incident means an incident or set of circumstances during or as a consequence of which there is or is likely to be a leak, spill or other escape or deposit of a substance, as a result of which pollution has occurred, is occurring or is likely to occur. It includes an incident or set of circumstances in which a substance has been placed or disposed of on premises, but it does not include an incident or set of circumstances involving only the emission of any noise.
(a) a building or structure, or
(b) land or a place (whether enclosed or built on or not), or
(c) a mobile plant, vehicle, vessel or aircraft.
private place means any premises that are not a public place.
protection of the environment policy means a protection of the environment policy made by the Governor under Chapter 2 and in force.
means a public or local authority constituted by or under an Act, and includes—
public place includes—
(a) a public place within the meaning of the Local Government Act 1993, and
(b) a State forest or flora reserve within the meaning of the Forestry Act 2012, and
(c) a national park, state conservation area, historic site, nature reserve, state game reserve or Aboriginal area within the meaning of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, and
(d) a place that is open to the public, or is used by the public, whether or not on payment of money or other consideration, whether or not the place is ordinarily so open or used, and whether or not the public to whom the place is so open, or by whom the place is so used, consists only of a limited class of persons.
records includes plans, specifications, maps, reports, books and other documents (whether in writing, in electronic form or otherwise).
means the EPA, a local authority or a public authority prescribed for the purposes of section 6 (3).
remediation work means work for the remediation, rehabilitation or monitoring of any premises which are or have been the subject of an environment protection licence, being work that is required to be carried out by or under this Act—
(a) while the premises are being used for the purposes to which the licence relates, or
(b) after the premises cease being used for the purpose to which the licence relates,
restorative justice activity—see section 250 (1A).
scheduled activity means an activity listed in Schedule 1.
scheduled development work—see section 47.
(a) sell by wholesale, retail, auction or tender, and
(b) barter or exchange, and
(c) supply for profit, and
(d) offer for sale, receive for sale, have in possession for sale or expose or exhibit for sale, and
(e) conduct negotiations for sale, and
(f) consign or deliver for sale, and
(g) cause or permit anything referred to above.
specify an act, matter or thing, includes—
(a) describe the act, matter or thing, and
(b) specify a class of acts, matters or things.
State includes the Government and the Crown.
substance includes matter or thing.
trailer has the same meaning as in the Road Transport Act 2013.
unit of rolling stock means a vehicle designed to run on rails, but does not include a vehicle designed to operate both on and off rails when the vehicle is not operating on rails.
vessel means any kind of vessel used in navigation.
(a) any substance (whether solid, liquid or gaseous) that is discharged, emitted or deposited in the environment in such volume, constituency or manner as to cause an alteration in the environment, or
(b) any discarded, rejected, unwanted, surplus or abandoned substance, or
(c) any otherwise discarded, rejected, unwanted, surplus or abandoned substance intended for sale or for recycling, processing, recovery or purification by a separate operation from that which produced the substance, or
(d) any processed, recycled, re-used or recovered substance produced wholly or partly from waste that is applied to land, or used as fuel, but only in the circumstances prescribed by the regulations, or
A substance is not precluded from being waste for the purposes of this Act merely because it is or may be processed, recycled, re-used or recovered.
(e) any substance prescribed by the regulations to be waste.
waste facility means any premises used for the storage, treatment, processing, sorting or disposal of waste (except as provided by the regulations).
water pollution or pollution of waters means—
(a) placing in or on, or otherwise introducing into or onto, waters (whether through an act or omission) any matter, whether solid, liquid or gaseous, so that the physical, chemical or biological condition of the waters is changed, or
(b) placing in or on, or otherwise introducing into or onto, the waters (whether through an act or omission) any refuse, litter, debris or other matter, whether solid or liquid or gaseous, so that the change in the condition of the waters or the refuse, litter, debris or other matter, either alone or together with any other refuse, litter, debris or matter present in the waters makes, or is likely to make, the waters unclean, noxious, poisonous or impure, detrimental to the health, safety, welfare or property of persons, undrinkable for farm animals, poisonous or harmful to aquatic life, animals, birds or fish in or around the waters or unsuitable for use in irrigation, or obstructs or interferes with, or is likely to obstruct or interfere with persons in the exercise or enjoyment of any right in relation to the waters, or
and, without affecting the generality of the foregoing, includes—
(c) placing in or on, or otherwise introducing into or onto, the waters (whether through an act or omission) any matter, whether solid, liquid or gaseous, that is of a prescribed nature, description or class or that does not comply with any standard prescribed in respect of that matter,
(d) placing any matter (whether solid, liquid or gaseous) in a position where—(i) it falls, descends, is washed, is blown or percolates, orinto any waters, onto the dry bed of any waters, or into any drain, channel or gutter used or designed to receive or pass rainwater, floodwater or any water that is not polluted, or(ii) it is likely to fall, descend, be washed, be blown or percolate,
if the matter would, had it been placed in any waters, have polluted or have been likely to pollute those waters.
(e) placing any such matter on the dry bed of any waters, or in any drain, channel or gutter used or designed to receive or pass rainwater, floodwater or any water that is not polluted,
waters means the whole or any part of—
(a) any river, stream, lake, lagoon, swamp, wetlands, unconfined surface water, natural or artificial watercourse, dam or tidal waters (including the sea), or
(b) any water stored in artificial works, any water in water mains, water pipes or water channels, or any underground or artesian water.