Business & The Environment

Overview

Wingecarribee Shire Council contains a wide variety of industry ranging from mechanical workshops/smash repairs and warehousing to agricultural based industries such as nurseries and wineries. Each industry type has specific environmental issues that need to be addressed.

In NSW the environmental impacts for most activities are controlled by either the Office of Environment & Heritage or local Councils through the provisions of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act, 1997. Under this Act, Councils have responsibilities as a regulatory authority.

Council aims to work with local business to improve work practices and facilities to prevent environmental harm.

Council's Own Activities

Council is making efforts to improve its environmental practices and performance. Reviews of our own operations and sites are being undertaken to understand our potential for environmental impacts. These reviews are part of the implementation of an overall risk management system for council.

Further information and publications about specific industries and can be obtained on the NSW EPA website.

Considerations for Businesses

Suitability

One of the most important things to be considered when selecting a premises is whether or not it is suitable for the type of business that you intend to carry out.

In terms of potential environmental issues you should look at things like the proximity to watercourses (particularly if you store / use large quantities of chemicals), how close your neighbours are and whether your neighbours are residential, commercial or industrial premises.

You will also need to ensure that the premise is large enough for your operations and the storage and handling of raw products, finished products and waste.

It is advisable to contact either Council or the Office of Environment & Heritage to check any specific requirements that they may have for your business.

Development Approval

You may require an approval from Council prior to occupation of the premises, either for works to be undertaken or for the land use itself. Contact Council for further information and clarification.

Liquid Trade & Waste Approval

If your business operations will generate liquid trade wastes, and this waste is proposed to be discharged to Council’s sewerage system, you will be required to obtain a trade waste approval from Council.

Liquid trade wastes can be defined as those liquid wastes containing trade or factory wastes, or chemical or other impurities, from any business, trade or manufacturing premises other than domestic sewage, storm water or unpolluted water. Contact Council for further information. 

Licensing

Various types of industries are also required to be licensed by the Office of Environment & Heritage. The Protection of the Environment Operations Act (POEO Act) sets out the types and sizes of businesses that require a licence from the Office of Environment & Heritage to operate within NSW.

These industries are listed in Schedule 1 of the Act. An electronic copy of the POEO Act can be accessed online:

Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997

If you are unsure if your business will require a licence contact the Office of Environment & Heritage or Council for further information.

If you will need to store dangerous and hazardous chemicals on your premises you may require a Dangerous Goods Licence from NSW Workcover.

Licensing is dependent on the type and quantity of chemicals stored on your site. For further information contact NSW Workcover

Premises Design

Environmental considerations should be incorporated into your initial premises design so that you can make sure you have satisfied all your environmental responsibilities up front.

This not only helps protect the environment but can save your business money by potentially reducing expensive retrofitting and changes for environmental reasons.

Some of the things you should think about are outlined below:

Air

You need to assess your proposed business operations for sources of air emissions and take steps to mitigate the impact of these emissions.

Emissions could include dust, odours, spray painting over spray, fumes from storage and decanting of chemicals and welding fumes.

Depending on the nature and scale of your operations you may need to install extraction, filtration and/or ventilation systems in areas where emissions will be generated.

Noise

You will need to determine the likely levels of noise to be generated by your proposed business operations. Measures to attenuate or reduce noise may need to be implemented, particularly if you intend to operate outside of standard business hours or in close proximity to residential areas.

Noise control measures may include boxing of noisy equipment, installation of sound barriers, locating noisy equipment or processes inside and/or away from sensitive neighbours or insulating your premises.

In some situations an acoustic consultant may need to be employed.

Storm Water

It is important that you find out where the storm water drains are located on your premises. This is particularly important if you handle or store liquids, and will assist in developing a spill response plan for your business.

Drains that have the potential to be affected by leaks and spills should also be identified in the procedure.

Some activities cannot be undertaken in areas that drain to storm water.

For example, vehicle washing or degreasing, wet or dry rubbing and other processes that generate waste water must be undertaken in specially designed areas, usually wash-bays, which collect the wash water for appropriate disposal.

If disposal to Council’s sewerage system is the preferred option then you will need a liquid trade waste approval from Council prior to any discharge occurring. If you need to construct a wash-bay you are also likely to require development approval from Council.

Liquid Storage

If you will need to store or use liquids as part of your business operations you will need to ensure that these liquids are located in a contained area that allows any spills and leaks to be captured for easy clean up and not discharge to the environment.

Containment areas must be capable of capturing 110% of the volume of the largest tank or drum or 25% of the total volume to be stored in the area; whichever is the greater amount.

Containment can be achieved in a number of different ways. For example the construction of a walled and sealed containment area, use of speed hump type structures across all entrances, grading of the floor away from doorways and drains or the use of spill containment pallets.

You will need to determine which method of containment best suits your business operations and budget.

You should check with NSW Workcover for any special requirements regarding the storage of dangerous and hazardous substances. You may also be required to obtain a Dangerous Goods Licence from NSW Workcover for the storage of these items.

Waste

You will need to investigate the types of wastes likely to be generated by your business and options for reusing, recycling and reducing waste quantities.

Appropriate space must be available for the neat and tidy storage of wastes prior to collection.

Wastes must be capable of being stored in a way so that they cannot escape and enter the environment, for example by having lids must be closed.

Potentially contaminating wastes, such as those that contain residual chemicals must be capable of being stored in an undercover area on a sealed surface. Any liquid wastes will be required to be contained as outlined in the liquid storage section above.