Licences and authorisations issued by the EPA contain conditions relating to incidents and their management.
An “Incident” is typically defined in industrial and waste management licences as:
(i) an emergency ;
(ii) any emission which does not comply with the requirements of this licence;
(iii) any exceedance of the daily duty capacity of the waste handling equipment;
(iv) any trigger level specified in this licence which is attained or exceeded;
(v) any indication that environmental pollution has, or may have, taken place.
In urban waste water licenses and certificates, an Incident is defined as:
(i) any discharge that does not comply with the requirements of this licence / certificate;
(ii) any incident with the potential for environmental contamination of surface water or groundwater, or posing an environmental threat to land, or requiring an emergency response by the relevant Water Services Authority.
In Dumping at Sea Permits, an incident is defined as
An “Emergency” is defined as
Any unexpected or potentially dangerous situation, requiring immediate action, which may have caused, or might have caused if the action had not taken place, an unauthorised environmental release or breach of licence conditions.
All regulated operators are obliged to report incidents as soon as practicable after they occur.
The EPA has issued a comprehensive Guidance Document on the Notification, Management and Communication of Environmental Incidents that sets out how licence, permit and authorisation holders are obliged to respond to incidents on their sites.
In summary, this Guidance Document instructs the operator to
To notify the EPA by telephone, operators may call EPA HQ at 053 916 0600 or their Regional EPA Office.
The EPA’s business hours are 09:00 – 17:00 Monday to Friday except Public & Bank Holidays. Outside of these hours, contact the EPA on any of the above numbers or on our dedicated Low Call number 0818 33 55 99. Our Out of Hours line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
To leave a message, please hold for a choice of the three options. Please be aware that all after-hour calls are recorded.
Operators must also notify the EPA, in written form, via the EDEN Portal, providing essential details set out in the Incident Notification Form provided in the Guidance Document. Where it is critical to ensure immediate communication of essential details, operators may also provide initial written notification by Email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following should be notified as soon as practicable after the occurrence of any incident which relates to a discharge to surface water or groundwater:
Where the incident is classified as of Serious, Major or Catastrophic, the operator must activate the Site Emergency Response Procedure, including raising an emergency notification to the appropriate Emergency Services, the Local Authority, An Garda Síochána or the Health Services Executive as well as the EPA.
The operator must ensure that the local community is informed where there is any risk of significant offsite impact.
The EPA publishes details of incident notifications and investigation updates on the incidents that have occurred at regulated sites.
When the investigation is complete, the EPA will update the incident notification. The update will indicate whether the EPA have considered or taken enforcement action against the operator.
We move the Incident Notification to archive three months after we publish the final update on the incident.