National Pollutant Inventory

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Authorative information about the NPI is provided by the EPA.

Details of the National Environment Protection Council (NEPC)

It should be noted that most of the information identified is still subject to debate and government decision making processes. However the current intention is to introduce it as a National Environmental Protection Measure (NEPM) by the NEPC.

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A mechanism is being established in Australia with the aim of promoting waste minimisation and cleaner production. It is based on providing information for policy formulation, community needs and international obligations. The scope will be substances included in the National Pollutant Inventory managed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Its focus is emissions from human activity to the environment in Australia of substances known or reasonably expected to cause serious health problems or severe damage to the environment.


The Inventory requires the reporting by companies of total yearly emissions that handle nominated substances above a threshold - where;
bullet handle is the sum of the amount of; input material, product, intermediate products generated by-products and waste or emission. It includes transfers and trade waste;
bullet nominated substances are substances included in the Inventory; and
bullet threshold is the amount as quantified in the Schedule to the Inventory.
The Inventory is in two parts (submissions for additions will be considered) - a Priority List of about 180 chemical substances of which about one-half are included in the Reporting List for immediate reporting.

The drafting reporting list and associated thresholds is still under consideration by stakeholders and governments. it is likely that the composition of the list may undergo more iterations before it is finalised for the first year of reporting.

Amount estimation

A guidance document will be provided that allows for emissions to be directly measured and/or estimated depending on the accuracy and cost efficiency.

With clear identification of limitations, the appropriate technique will depend on the substance, emission media (air, river, lake etc) and the process. The technique must be sensitive, cost effective, at maximum accuracy, relevant to Australia, capable of validation and with any variations documented. Alternative methods are encouraged if more accurate.


Information will be sourced from companies and from government agencies that will collect information from small and from diffuse (eg. car and household) sources. Small businesses emissions may be estimated with input from substance suppliers and producers (with confidential information provision).

Information content

The reports will therefore identify the source and emission information that includes the substance, amounts, form, origin, discharge medium, location, estimation, commentary and details of abatement measures.

Public information

Information made public will include;
bulletSubstance identification, effects and common uses;
bulletLevel and location (including facility identification);
bulletOther emissions and background levels;
bulletMethodologies; and
bulletContact details (industry and community groups, and government).
Access will by the Internet, CD-ROM and Government reporting at national level



Confidentiality provisions are planned to be indefinite with four year periodic reviews that will consider whether the provisions are still required. In practice this means inclusion on the Inventory and substance identification will be withheld (though with provision for generic identification). Claims for confidentiality will require the weighing of hazards against the public interest that recognises effects on the environment and health.

Information provided by suppliers of substances as used for development of industry profiles will be kept confidential. Random checks

Still subject to debate, there will be random checks of all actual and potential emitters to measure amounts, techniques and the fulfilment of obligations. Not for prosecution

Information provided to the Inventory will not be used for prosecutions or in a court of law.

Chemlink Pty Ltd ABN 71 007 034 022. Publications 1997. All contents Copyright 1997. All rights reserved. Information in this document is subject to change without notice. Products and companies referred to are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders. URL:

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