Light industry program

Educating light industry operators about ways to reduce their environmental impact
Last updated: 6 April 2022

The light industry program is a partnership between the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation and local government authorities. The program aims to educate light industry operators about ways to reduce the environmental impact of their activities. Our officers work with local government to conduct unannounced light industry inspections.

Inspections may be carried out at any business, including:

  • motor vehicle wreckers
  • mechanical workshops
  • machinery repair services
  • equipment hire and saleyards
  • spray painting and metal coating facilities
  • abrasive blasters
  • cement, concrete and stone producers
  • chemical mixers and blenders
  • car washes
  • dry cleaners
  • plastic manufacturers.

Light industrial activities can discharge contaminants into the environment via soil, stormwater drains and soak wells. Inspections focus on activities that may impact the environment, with particular emphasis on chemical storage, waste management and preventing unauthorised discharges. During the inspection, we will provide you with information about environmentally acceptable practices, as well as advice to help avoid breaches of environmental legislation and applicable local laws.

Use this checklist to help you prepare for your inspection: Environmental assessments checklist.

You can find out more in the Light industry program brochure.


Discharges to the environment are regulated under state and local laws. At the inspection, our officers will assess your compliance with the Environmental Protection Act 1986 and associated regulations, including:

  • Environmental Protection (Unauthorised Discharges) Regulations 2004
  • Environmental Protection (Controlled Waste) Regulations 2004
  • Environmental Protection (Abrasive Blasting) Regulations 1998
  • Environmental Protection (Fibre Reinforced Plastics) Regulations 1998
  • Environmental Protection (Metal Coating) Regulations 2001
  • Environmental Protection Regulations 1987.

Copies of Western Australian legislation are available at the Western Australian Legislation website

Local government laws may also apply to your activities. Contact your local government authority.

Preventing unauthorised discharges

It is your responsibility to prevent unauthorised discharges from your business to the environment. Actions required to minimise the risk of unauthorised discharge include:

  • Storing liquids, chemicals, oily or contaminated materials in protected undercover areas, away from high traffic areas.
  • Storing substances in water-resistant, bunded enclosures. This allows leaks or spills to be cleaned up before they can escape into other areas of the workplace or environment.
  • Storing waste bins with their lids closed to protect them from rain.
  • Storing used containers inside (not outside), with their lids securely fastened.
  • Washing down vehicles and contaminated parts in dedicated, self-contained washdown bays or enclosures. Wastewater, along with wash water from mopping or hosing down workshop floors, and cooling system overflow/bleed off, should be recycled or disposed of through an authorised wastewater disposal system.
  • Conducting potentially contaminating processes inside a building in a bunded workshop or booth where possible. Materials and equipment should also be stored inside. If there is an accidental discharge of a contaminating material, the chances of it entering the environment are greatly reduced if the activity is being conducted indoors.

Discharges and spills

Make sure spill kits, drain blockers and other emergency clean up equipment are located close to where discharges may occur. Ensure your staff are trained and know how to use this equipment. A quick response to an accidental discharge can greatly minimise the impact and exposure of the discharge to the environment.

Discharges of waste likely to cause pollution or environmental harm must be reported as soon as is practicable to the department through our Pollution Watch service and to your local government authority.

Resources for light industry operators

The information provided here is designed to help you equip your workplace and implement environmentally sound practices.

Category Custodian
Dangerous goods Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety - Dangerous goods
Industrial/trade waste, vehicle and machinery wash down areas Water Corporation
Green Stamp Motor Trade Association of WA
Contaminated sites Department of Water and Environmental Regulation
Wastewater systems/septic tank systems Department of Health
Acid sulfate soils Department of Water and Environmental Regulation
Stormwater management Department of Water and Environmental Regulation
Detergents and degreasers – Phosphorous Awareness Project River Guardians