The Environment Protection Act 1993 (SA) is the main State legislation covering pollution and waste. The Act creates an Environment Protection Authority (EPA) – a statutory authority responsible for all aspects of pollution and waste. The EPA is run by a Board appointed by the State Government.

The Act sets out a framework for policy development as well as providing for a licensing regime for polluting or potentially polluting activities. Much of the detailed law setting out standards for pollution and waste are contained in Environment Protection Policies (EPPs) made under the Act. These EPPs have a similar status to regulations and set out maximum pollution levels as well as other environmental standards. There is also provision for National Environment Protection Measures (NEPMs) to be incorporated into South Australian law as EPPs.

The objects of the Environment Protection Act 1993 (SA) include promoting ecologically sustainable development and ensuring that all reasonable and practicable measures are taken to protect, restore and enhance the quality of the environment [see s 10]. Another objective is the integration of pollution and waste regulation with development control under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 (SA). This is achieved through a system of referrals between development authorities and the EPA. The EPA can provide businesses with information about their environmental obligations and any environmental approvals required for their operations.