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Reporting Incidents to the EPA


When someone refers to an ‘incident’ in relation to environmental compliance we immediately think of a spill or other relatively serious occurrence at a facility. However the EPA definition of a reportable incident is very broad and can be summarised as follows;

  • An emergency.
  • Any emission which does not comply with the requirements of the licence.
  • An exceedance of the daily duty capacity of the waste handling equipment.
  • Any trigger level specified in the licence which is attained or exceeded.
  • Any indication that environmental pollution has, or may have, taken place.

Incidents are ranked as follows;

1 – Minor – no contamination, localised effects

2 – Limited – simple contamination, localised effects of short duration

3 – Serious – simple contamination, widespread effects of extended duration

4 – Very Serious – heavy contamination, localised effects of extended duration

5 – Catastrophic – very heavy contamination, widespread effects of extended duration

Where an incident takes place during office hours the licensee must;

  • Speak with the facility inspector and if he/she is not available ask for another inspector. Leaving a phone message or email is not acceptable.
  • Complete Incident Notification Form and fax to EPA Regional Inspectorate.

Where an incident takes place outside of office hours the licensee must;

  • For all incidents ring EPA at HQ or Regional Inspectorate and leave a message.
  • For incidents ranked 2-5 record as an urgent environmental incident.
  • In all cases complete and fax incident notification form.

In summary any exceedance of an ELV (even if it isn’t environmentally significant) is a reportable incident and licensees need to follow the steps outlined above.

Please remember that for exceedances of emissions to sewer or surface waters, your IPPC/Waste licence may require you to report to the Water Services Authority as well.