Skip to main content

Service stations

Underground petroleum storage systems

An underground petroleum storage system (UPSS) refers to a system comprised of underground tanks, pipes and valves used to store and handle petroleum products.

Although UPSS's come with many advantages, such as protection from vandalism, weather and fire safety they can be subject to corrosion due to the corrosive nature of soil and water and consequently subject to leaks. Without proper management and response leaks can risk human health, cause significant harm to the natural environment and result in clean-up costs into the millions.

To manage this risk owners and operators of UPSS must comply with the NSW Protection of the Environment Operations (Underground Petroleum Storage Systems) Regulation 2019, (The Regulation). This Regulation sets the minimum installation, maintenance, monitoring and performance standards for all sites with UPSS's to reduce the risk of leaks and enabling early leak detection and response.

Person responsible

The Regulation defines the person responsible as the person who has management and control of the storage system or, in the event of a decommissioned system the person who had management and control of the storage system immediately before the storage system ceased to be used.

Leak detection and duty to report

A leak detection system serves as a backup in the instance a leak occurs and assists in ensuring leaks are promptly detected. A UPSS must not be used unless a leak detection system designed in accordance with AS 4897-2008 and the Regulation is in place.

Under the NSW Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 and Regulation the person responsible for a UPSS must, in the instance of a leak:

  • Immediately report a pollution incident to Council and/or the NSW Environment Protection Authority, and
  • Complete a UPSS Regulation Leak Notification Form and submit to Council within 7 days.
Decommissioning notification

Where a UPSS is not used for 2 or more years the system must have its contents removed, made safe and then decommissioned.

The person responsible for the UPSS must:

  • Notify Council at least 30 days prior to the intent to decommission a UPSS. (Planning consent may be required)
  • Ensure the site is investigated for contamination. A validation report must be provided to Council no later than 60 days after the system has been decommissioned or removed.
  • Notify SafeWork NSW when a tank or UPSS has been decommissioned.
Role of Council

Through inspection and enforcement the City of Canada Bay is responsible for ensuring sites with underground petroleum storage systems are designed and operating in accordance with NSW Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 and Regulations.

Council contact information

For further information please contact Council’s Environmental Health Team Monday to Friday on 9911 6555 or alternatively email

For additional resources, and to access a compliance self-evaluation for UPSS operators please visit NSW EPA.