Incidents at regulated sites are events that are outside the normal range of operations. They are normally insignificant, but can occasionally be disruptive and may require the involvement of external services.
Such incidents can happen at any time, but the risk of them occurring is foreseeable. Operators build measures to control these risks into their site design.
When an incident occurs, the operator must respond quickly and effectively to understand what happened, minimise any potential for affecting site workers or neighbours, and prevent any impacts on the local environment.
All regulated sites are required to report incidents to the EPA as specified in their licences and permits.
Incidents on regulated sites are of two main types:
Minor incidents, which are typically around 90% of the total each year, include
Significant incidents, ranging from limited releases of polluting matter into receiving watercourses or the ambient air, up to Major Emergencies. These incidents are very rare, and regulated sites work hard to prevent them happening. They do this by maintaining emergency response plans, staff training and safe systems of work.
The operators of EPA-regulated sites are required to:
Notifying Major Emergencies
Where the incident is classified as Serious, Major or Catastrophic, the operator must activate the Site Emergency Response Procedure. This includes immediately raising an emergency notification to the appropriate Emergency Services (the local authority, An Garda Síochána or the HSE) as well as to the EPA.
The operator must ensure that the local community is informed where there is any risk of significant offsite impact.
Learn more about the Framework for Major Emergency Management (MEM).
Information on recent incidents
Each holder of a licence, permit or authorisation provides a summary of environmental incidents in their Annual Environmental Reports (AERs).
The EPA publishes summary details of reported incidents in its annual enforcement reports. We also publish notifications of recent incidents (classed as ‘Limited’ or above) that occur at regulated sites, along with details of our investigation and enforcement response. We move the Incident Notification to the incident archive two months after we publish the final update on the incident.