Spill response and hazardous materials

The operation of the airport involves the storage and regular use of a range of hazardous materials and chemicals. Sydney Airport and its airport tenants and operators each use varying types and quantities of hazardous materials and chemicals.

Section 3.12 of the Airport Environment Strategy 2019-2024 sets out our key objectives in relation to spill response and hazardous materials, and our action plan sets out how these will be achieved. Our objectives are to:

  • implement best-practice environmental controls for the prevention and management of spills and release of hazardous materials
  • ensure that the storage and handling of hazardous materials and dangerous goods is managed in accordance with regulatory requirements
  • replace and/or reduce the use of hazardous materials where practicable

The major hazardous material used at the airport is aviation fuel. Aviation fuel is supplied to the airport by two underground pipelines, the Viva pipeline from Clyde and the Caltex pipeline from Port Botany and Kurnell. BP and Exxon/Mobil supply fuel from their bulk storage terminal using the Caltex pipeline.

Other activities involving the use of hazardous materials include maintenance facilities operated by airport tenants, fire training (which requires the storage and use of fire-fighting foam), construction and related activities and the use of liquid hydrocarbons (other than aviation fuel), solvents, paints, pesticides and herbicides.

Each of these hazardous materials and chemicals can have an impact on the environment and, in some cases, their improper use could potentially cause significant harm to the environment.


Effectively managing hazardous materials, and in particular ensuring an effective response to any spills of hazardous materials, is an important component of this strategy. It ensures pollution prevention and ensures that Sydney Airport’s occupational health and safety obligations are met.

Spills are categorised under six levels in line with Sydney Airport’s Corporate Risk Matrix and the Environment Management System. Sydney Airport maintains a hazardous materials storage database. This database includes a register of all known storage facilities, including above ground storage tanks (ASTs) and underground storage tanks (USTs) for both Sydney Airport and tenants.

Records are kept of all spills and other environmental incidents reported on airport land.

To ensure minimal environmental impact should a spill or incident occur, Sydney Airport has two designated spill response trucks, which operate 24 hours a day to ensure all minor spills are addressed as soon as possible. Spill kits are also available at aircraft parking bays and other identified potential risk areas. Pollution control gates, flame traps and other infrastructure are in place to control and contain any spills/losses, assisting with protecting the local environment.

We have spill response procedures in place and guidance material for tenants to ensure the correct handling and reporting of spills. Procedures to manage incidents involving hazardous materials are incorporated into the Airport Emergency Plan.

Section 3.12.5 of the AES details our five-year spill response and hazardous materials action plan.