An Environmental Protection Order (EPO) is a written statutory order that requires a person or company to undertake actions to remedy a risk or prevent further environmental harm. An EPO is issued by the EPA under the Environment Protection Act 1993.
You can search the index to find out about EPOs that have been issued in your suburb or town.
You can make an appointment to view information or request a copy of information held on the public register by contacting 8204 2004 or 1800 623 445 (freecall for country users), or email. Please quote the order number of the record you are interested in.
Frequently asked questions
What is an Environment Protection Order (EPO)?
An EPO is an important regulatory tool used by the EPA to achieve compliance with the Environment Protection Act 1993. It is a written statutory order that requires a person(s) or company to undertake actions to remedy a risk or prevent further harm. For example, an order may require a company to stop works, conduct a clean up, install controls, change a process or activity or provide a report.
An order is a legal document that creates offences for failing to comply with the requirements of the order.
Why is an EPO issued?
An EPO is typically issued to secure compliance with the general environmental duty, mandatory provisions of an environment protection policy, a licence condition, a condition of a beverage container approval or any other requirement imposed by or under the Environment Protection Act 1993.
Who can issue an EPO?
Police officers are authorised under the EP Act and use EPOs to deal with complaints about noise (eg loud music) from domestic premises.
Some local government officers are authorised under the Environment Protection Act 1993, but this authority is limited to the council area in which they are employed.
How does the EPA decide when to issue an EPO?
The main purpose of regulatory action by the EPA is to secure compliance, create deterrence and change behaviour. The first and foremost consideration when determining what course of action to take when dealing with a contravention is to secure compliance and minimise harm.
The factors that guide the EPA’s decisions are the likelihood of the offender complying and the consequences/impact of the contravention. The EPA takes a risk-based approach to determine whether an EPO is the appropriate regulatory tool to address non-compliance.
Factors that will be considered (but not limited to) prior to the issuing of an EPO include:
- the extent of the environmental harm if harm has occurred
- if environmental harm has not occurred, the degree of risk of environmental harm
- the extent to which an individual, corporation or licensee is not complying with the general environmental duty
- the risk that not issuing an order may have in relation to the industry sector involved as a whole
- if any previous action has been taken in relation to the matter (e.g. discussions, a warning letter, a show cause letter)
- if it is likely the contravener is likely to become compliant without issuing an EPO, ie if the desired result could be achieved through other means
- the length of time it will take to achieve compliance through other means.
What are the consequences for failing to comply with an order?
The order itself is not a form of punishment. However, failing to comply with an order is a serious offence under the Environment Protection Act 1993. Significant penalties may be imposed and there may also be penalties for each day of ongoing failure to comply.
What does a contravention of the Act mean?
A contravention is the failure to comply with any requirement in the EPA South Australian regulatory environment under the Environment Protection Act 1993 and the Radiation Protection and Control Act 1982.
The most common contraventions to occur include:
- causing or potential to cause environmental harm in the form of environmental nuisance (eg noise, dust)
- non-compliance with conditions of an environmental authorisation
- breach of a mandatory provision of an Environment Protection Policy
- undertaking an activity of environmental significance as prescribed in Schedule 1 of the EP Act without an appropriate environmental authorisation (licence)
- non-compliance with an order
- non-compliance with a registration or licence by owners of ionising radiation apparatus
- operating an ionising radiation apparatus or handling a radioactive source or substance without a current licence.
What is in an EPO?
EPOs are structured to ensure that the recipient can easily understand:
- why the order was issued
- what part of the law was contravened
- what is required to remedy the situation.
An EPO will include the following sections:
- Purpose of the order
This section details the specific part of the Environment Protection Act legislation that the order seeks compliance with.
- Particulars of non-compliance
This section details factual observations, relevant to the non compliance, made by Authorised officers during a site inspection. The main purpose of recording observations is to verify that non-compliance exists.
- Requirements of order
This section lists the actions and timeframes required for compliance. Requirements may instruct recipients to put in place suitable controls, cease operations, modify a process or activity, undertake specified tests or monitoring, prepare and provide a report, engage a qualified person to prepare or undertake tests or monitoring or conduct a clean-up.
Can an EPO be appealed?
The Environment Protection Act 1993 provides the person(s)/company being issued with an EPO the opportunity to appeal to the Environment, Resources and Development Court within a period of 14 days of issue.
Where can I find out more about the EPA’s role in compliance and enforcement?
The EPA’s compliance and enforcement statement sets out the principles and policy that we will apply in relation to compliance and enforcement. The Compliance and enforcement: Regulatory options and tools provides more detailed information on the tools the EPA may use to manage non-compliance and the circumstances under which the tools may be applied.
About the EPOs on the Public Directory
What is the purpose of making an index of EPOs available online?
The EPA is progressively making the environmental information it holds more accessible to the public.
The online index of EPOs allows interested members of the community to find out about EPOs that have been issued in their suburb/town and request more information if needed.
Can I gain access to a copy of an EPO?
Yes, copies are available on request through the public register by contacting 8204 2004 or 1800 623 445 (non-metropolitan callers) during business hours, or by email. Please quote the document number when making your request. Electronic copies of documents listed on the index of the public register directory will be provided for free. Fees may apply for hard copy documents.
The index says the EPO was issued to a ‘private individual’ or ‘corporation’. How can I find out who the order was issued to?
The names of individual persons and corporations that have been issued an EPO are included on the copy of the EPO. You can request a copy of an EPO through the public register.
Can I gain access to reports that are provided to the EPA in consequence of an order?
Yes, if an EPO refers to a report or monitoring plan that is required to be submitted to the EPA, then it is available through the public register. You can gain access to reports by contacting 8204 2004 or 1800 623 445 during business hours, or email. Please quote the order number when making your request. Electronic copies of documents listed on the index of the public register directory will be provided for free. Fees may apply for hard copy documents.
Can I gain access to EPOs that have been issued by other administering agencies, like my local council and/or South Australian Police (SAPOL)?
Yes, EPOs issued by local councils and SAPOL are available through the public register. They are available on request through the public register by contacting 8204 2004 or 1800 623 445 during business hours, or email.
Almost all EPOs issued by the police deal with complaints about noise (eg loud music) from individual domestic premises. The majority of EPOs issued by councils relate to breaches of the Enviromental Protection (Water Quality) Policy with regard to stormwater issues around building sites.
If I have questions about an EPO can I call someone at the EPA?
For more information about a particular EPO, contact 8204 2004 or 1800 623 445 during business hours, or email.
How can I find out if the requirements of an EPO have been met?
EPOs will outline the specific requirements of the order and the date that compliance is required by. The EPA follows up all compliance dates with a notice of compliance. To find out whether the requirements of an order have been met you can contact the EPA on 8204 2004 or 1800 623 445 during business hours, or email.
How regularly will the EPO index on the website be updated?
The index will be updated as new information is received by the EPA. You can check the date of currency published above the search bar.