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New regulations for some underground petroleum storage systems

September 16, 2021

Gunnedah Shire Council is working with the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and encouraging operators of underground petroleum storage systems (UPSS) used for heating oil, waste oil or fuel for back up generators to register their system, following changes to an exemption order for their use.

UPSS systems are governed under the Protection of the Environment Operations Regulation 2019. The EPA have advised previously issued exemption orders under the regulation expired on August 31, 2021, with local operators asked to ensure their systems are registered with Council.

Gunnedah Shire Council Coordinator or Regulatory Services Wade Berryman said it was important to know where these UPSS are located and for operators to have a current Fuel System Operation Plan in place.

“The storage systems impacted by the regulation change are likely to be used as a back-up generator in a commercial or residential premise, for heating oil in residential premises and for waste oil,” Mr Berryman said.

“While storage systems used for back-up generators, heating oil and waste oil storage may pose a lower risk, leaks from UPSS are a common source of land and groundwater contamination. This change will make sure leaks are prevented, or if they do occur, they are found and fixed early.

“There may also be cases where we need to reissue an exemption order for a system, and if so we will work with the operator and EPA to ensure that is up to date.”

Operators of the affected UPSS are encouraged to contact Council’s Regulatory Services team on (02) 67402100 or by email at to ensure their system is registered. A self-evaluation form that allows operators of any UPSS to review their compliance can also be found at


Media and communications team contact: (02) 6740 2100.