Legislation requires the EPA to have a public register and to make information available for the public to inspect.
The register is a wide range of information relating to EPA operations including:
- environmental authorisations (licences)
- new applications for licences
- development authorisation referrals
- completed prosecutions and civil penalties
- site contamination
- environmental protection orders or EPOs.
The online directory
The public register directory forms part of the public register and is designed to make it easier for the public to find out what information is being held. The directory is not an exhaustive list of information that is held on the public register.
The EPA is progressively improving access to the environmental information it holds on its public register for the South Australian community.
Indices of information held by the EPA will be progressively uploaded to make it easy for people to find out what information exists that is relevant to them and that they can access via the public register if they make a direct request.
Frequently asked questions
What Public Register information can be accessed on the EPA website?
The EPA is progressively adding information to the website.
Currently available are:
- environmental authorisations (licences)
- prosecutions and civil penalties
- new applications for licences
- environmental protection orders or EPOS
- Index of notifications of actual or potential groundwater contamination sites across the state (otherwise known as Section 83a notifications–a legislative requirement since July 2009).
The index is structured into suburbs/towns for ease of user searching and will help people find out what known groundwater contamination site may exist near them.
The online index provides addresses and basic information on the potential contaminating activity at each site location. It does not provide detail about the specifics of each notification.
If you are interested in finding out more about a specific address, you can request this by phoning the hotline on 8204 2004 or 1800 623 445 (non-metropolitan callers), or by email.
Does the Public Register also contain historical data (such as sites that have been successfully remediated and are no longer being actively managed for contamination issues)?
Yes. Information available on the public register about site contamination also includes documentation in relation to sites that have been cleaned up and are no longer under active management.
Historical data and reports are retained so that information relating to specific sites is built upon, regardless of land use changes, ownership transfers or the passage of time (including where urban development has occurred over time on a piece of land that was historically zoned as industrial).
There are also sites where there is periodic and ongoing monitoring of known contamination to ensure there is no risk to public health.
Examples of this would include areas of Port Pirie where there is known lead contamination, or in a more confined industrial operation where management of pollutants is an ongoing issue. The EPA’s role is to monitor compliance with environmental standards and site remediation orders to ensure public health is protected.
Some of the sites on the online index include cases that are not under active management because they have been remediated or there is no risk to human health because the pathway for contamination to affect people has been removed (eg where a history of underground water contamination exists, people are banned from using backyard bores).
What is on the Public Register?
The types of documents that are available for public access include:
- – licences (environmental authorisations)
- – enforcement actions
- – environment protection orders, clean up orders and clean up authorisations
- – prosecutions and civil penalties.
- Site contamination
- – reports of known site contamination
- – site contamination assessment orders or site remediation orders
- – voluntary site contamination assessment proposals and voluntary site remediation proposals approved by the EPA
- – information on special management areas for the management of site contamination
- – information on water restriction or prohibition zones declared by the EPA, including for groundwater
- – site contamination that affects or threatens underground water notified to the EPA
- – site contamination audit reports and site audit reports
- – information relating to the commencement or termination before completion of a site audit report or site contamination audit report
- – agreements for the exclusion or limitation of liability for site contamination.
- – serious or material environmental harm caused or threatened in the course of an activity
- – environmental assessment reports carried out by, or on behalf of, the EPA
- – South Australian Health Commission reports.
- Development approval
- – EPA’s advice or direction regarding development authorisations referred to the EPA by a planning authority
- – development authorisation referrals.
Can I view the Public Register? How do I make an application to access information contained within the Public Register?
Yes. The Environment Protection Act 1993 (the Act) requires the EPA to maintain a public register of information under section 109 (3) of the Act and as prescribed in regulation 16 of the Environment Protection Regulations 2009.
What this means is that anyone can make a request to view or obtain information held on the public register. If you wish to do this phone the hotline on 8204 2004 or 1800 623 445 (non-metropolitan callers) or email.
How long does it take to get information from the Public Register?
Typically it takes 3 days for simple requests for information to be processed and issued (such as when a prospective purchaser is seeking environmental information held by the EPA, as identified on a Form 1 under the Land and Business (Sale and Conveyancing) Act 1994).
More complex requests can require a search of multiple data files, entire documents and reports. In these situations the time taken to compile all the relevant information can be much longer.
The EPA will help you clarify what’s available when you make your request and the time it takes will depend on the complexity of your information request.
The cost of viewing and accessing information on the Public Register is a prescribed fee, set by Parliament, and outlined within State Government Regulations under the Environment Protection Act 1993. It is indexed annually.
In 2014–15 the prescribed fees are:
- each manual inspection – $19.40
- each inspection requiring access to a computer – $19.40 for each 10-minute period (or part thereof)
- copy of part of the register – first page $4.95, each additional page $1.70.
The EPA is progressively digitising archived records and manual documents. Electronic copies of documents can be provided by email or on disk.
The EPA can waive public register fees in certain circumstances and has done so in the following situations:
|Information that is recorded on the Public Register which is accessible via the EPA website.||Fee waived – no cost|
|Documents recorded on the Public Register (other than documents that are available via the EPA website), which are provided electronically to the public.||Fee waived – for electronic copies where documents clearly identified
Inspection charges as outlined in the regulations apply where documents are not clearly identified
|Documents provided in print to persons who have an interest in the matter described in the document and where that person would, in the opinion of the Authority, face financial hardship in paying the full fee.||Fee waived – no cost|
|Documents recorded on the public register that are provided to a landowner or tenant of a residential property or where that document directly relates to the residential land they own or occupy.||Fee waived – no cost|
You can make an appointment to view information or request copies of documents by contacting the hotline on 8204 2004 or 1800 623 445 (country callers only), or by email. If you choose to request copies over the phone, payments can be made via credit card.
If there is no record on the public register, can I assume there is no site contamination?
People with an interest in a site should always carry out their own enquiries and/or independent assessments by an accredited auditor to ensure that their interest in the site is not compromised by site contamination or pollution.
How do I know if the EPA has information about a property?
An important tip for prospective property buyers is to ensure the real estate agent provides you with a Form 1 notification indicating that a search for reports of contamination has been done on the property. This will help protect you from unknowingly purchasing a property with a site contamination history.
The EPA is required to advise prospective purchasers of property, via the Form 1 process, whether it holds information on the public register regarding that land. The Form 1 is a document that is typically completed by a real estate agent when they prepare the contract for sale of land or property.
If you rent a property or wish to view what information is held about your land, you can make a direct enquiry to the EPA. The request needs to be made in writing and provide the current certificate of title reference or current plan and parcel number, and a return postal address. The EPA has up to 8 working days to respond to a direct enquiry related to Form 1.
The cost of a direct enquiry is $15 per current certificate of title reference. Enquiries should be addressed to:
Environment Protection Authority
Senior Administration Officer, Section 7
GPO Box 2607, ADELAIDE SA 5001
Fax: (08) 8124 4672