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Managing Risks associated with Land Contamination


o Land contamination emerged as a major environmental and land ... Abrasive blasting Airport Asbestos production/disposal Asphalt manufacturing ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Managing Risks associated with Land Contamination


Guidance for Local Government
  • Managing Risks associated with Land
  • December 2006
  • EPA Regulatory Framework
  • Jean Meaklim
  • Project Manager Health Risk, Env Audit Unit
  • Chris McAuley
  • Manager Environmental Audit Unit

o     Land contamination emerged as a major
environmental and land management issue over the
last 2 decades o    Rezoning of former
industrial or mining land for new uses esp
residential subdivisions or other sensitive uses
- resulted in exposure of people to contamination
(eg. former battery factory in Ardeer) o  
Contamination is not confined to industrial
and mining land but could include any site
where chemicals and wastes were or are handled,
stored or disposed


EPA Regulatory Framework
  • Environment Protection Act 1970
  • Environmental Audits Part IXD
  • Control of Solid Wastes Pollution of Land
    Part VII
  • Pollution Abatement Notice (PAN) S. 31A
  • Minor Works PAN S. 31B
  • Notice to clean up pollution S. 62A
  • State Environment Protection Policy 2002 (SEPP)
    Prevention Management of Contamination of Land


EPA Regulatory Framework
  • Environmental Audits Part IXD
  • Environmental Auditors Appointed by EPA, under
    EP Act
  • Based on evidence of high level of
    competency (technical, legislative
  • Appointed auditors list on
  • Must conduct audits according to EPA guidelines


What is an Environmental Audit?
  • Environmental Audit 53X (Contam Land)
  • Independent assessment of the condition of a site
    and opinion about the sites suitability for use.
  • Purpose Identify - environmental quality of a
    segment of the environment (the site) inc.
    soil, groundwater, air and
  • - any detriment to beneficial uses of the
  • Results in Certificate or Statement of
    Environmental Audit


What is an Environmental Audit?
  • Environmental Audit 53V (Risk of Harm)
  • An assessment of the nature and extent of harm
    (or risk of harm) to the environment posed by an
    industrial process or activity, waste, substance
    or noise
  • Can have a very narrow or broad scope


Environmental Audits 53 (X)
  • Certificates and Statements of
  • Environmental Audit
  • Certificate of Environmental Audit (CEA) the
    site is suitable for any beneficial use (wrt its
    environmental condition)
  • Statement of Environmental Audit (SEA) the site
    is not suitable for any/all beneficial uses,
    there may be some restrictions on the use of a
    site (wrt its environmental condition)
  • But the site may be suitable for the proposed
    use, with or without certain conditions


Environmental Audit (53 X)
  • Statements of EA - Conditions
  • Where a Statement of EA is issued, it typically
    states Site is not suitable for any/all
    beneficial uses (wrt its environmental condition)
  • - But is suitable for the proposed use (eg,
    high-density residential) with (certain)
  • Eg - That the site remain covered with
    impervious capping (eg, concrete, asphalt, 0.5 m
    clean soil)
  • - That clean fill be brought in to cover any
    exposed garden areas
  • Any Statement conditions should be included on
    permits Auditor to discuss with Council if


Auditor vs. Site Assessor
  • Competent Site Assessor consultant
  • Not acting under EP Act
  • May also be an auditor, but not acting in that
    legislative capacity
  • May be engaged to provide an opinion or guidance
    on whether land might be potentially contaminated
    / whether a full audit is required / give advice
    on the level of assessment needed
  • If an applicant submits environmental
    assessment (not audit) by an assessor acting
    as their advocate, PA or RA may require the
    applicant to contribute financially to an
    independent review of assessment for Council
  • To contact suitably qualified site assessor
    ACLCA (Aus Contam Land Consultants Assoc) Vic Ph 9509 5949.


Regulatory Framework
  • Control of Solid Wastes Pollution of Land
    Part VII
  • S. 44 Discharge or deposit of waste onto land to
    be in accord w SEPP or Waste Mgt Policy, and
    comply with acceptable standards
  • S. 45 Pollution of land A person shall not
    pollute land so that the land (is)
  • noxious or poisonous or harmful to humans
  • poisonous or harmful to animals, birds or
    wildlife, or plants
  • obnoxious or offensive to the senses.
  • Consider when planning for a site use what is
    the sites impact on the environment?


Regulatory Framework
  • Pollution Abatement Notice (PAN) S. 31A
  • Minor Works PAN S. 31B
  • If a process or activity on a premises has caused
    or likely to cause pollution or failure to
    comply with any standard or requirement in
    regulations or policies EPA may serve a PAN on
    the occupier.
  • May require occupier to carry on, modify or
    control the process or activity take measures
    including installation, /or operation of any
    plant or apparatus as specified comply with any
    standard or requirement in regulations or
    policies or condition in a licence or permit
    carry out a monitoring program and to give EPA
    specified results, measurements and information.
  • May be used to implement Audit Statement
    conditions (eg, for ongoing groundwater


Regulatory Framework
  • Notice to clean up pollution S. 62A
  • Where pollution has occurred on a site, or
    industrial waste or hazardous substances have
    been abandoned, EPA may direct the site occupier,
    or person who caused or permitted the pollution,
    or who dumped the waste, to take cleanup measures
    as specified.
  • These can include any conditions, requirements,
    restrictions on use, etc, as the Authority thinks
  • The cleanup measures are to performed as
    specified, notwithstanding anything to the
    contrary in the Planning Environment Act 1987
    or any regulation, planning scheme or permit made
    under that Act.

Listing of sites with Notices
  • Priority Sites Register (PSR)
  • All sites subject to Notices related to land or
    groundwater contamination are listed on the PSR.
  • View PSR listings via or
  • Or link from EPA website
  • Note there is a charge to review the PSR,
    currently 17.50 - but changes imminent!
    Information soon to be freely available via EPA

Additional information about any site listed on
the PSR is available from relevant EPA regional

SEPP (Prevention and Management of Contamination
of Land) 2002
  • o   SEPPs establish a principle of shared
    responsibility for all levels of Government,
    industry, business and people of Victoria
    clarifies the obligations of planning and
    responsible authorities
  • o   SEPP (PMCL) - developed in consultation with
    stakeholders (incl Reference Group of DSE, MAV,


SEPP (Prevention and Management of Contamination
of Land) 2002
  • Clause 13 Planning authorities responsible
    authorities must ensure their actions under PE
    Act are consistent with SEPP
  • Clause 14 Planning scheme amendments, planning
    permits and change of land use
  • Prevention - impose any necessary permit
  • General Obligations - requires applicants to
    provide sufficient
  • information, have regard to guidelines prepared
    by EPA /DSE etc
  • Specific Obligations
  • -    planning scheme amendments which
    allow a sensitive
  • use, must have regard to Min Dir No. 1
  • -    planning permit applications which
    allow a sensitive
  • use, require, where appropriate,
    certificate/ statement of
  • environmental audit


Audits in Planning System
  • When is an Environmental Audit necessary for a
    planning scheme amendment?
  • As described under Ministerial Direction 1, for
    sensitive uses
  • For agriculture, open space or other uses,
    planning authorities can require an environmental
    audit if it considers it appropriate


Audits in Planning System
  • When is an Environmental Audit necessary for a
    planning permit application?
  • S. 60 of the Act requires the RA to consider the
    effects the environment may have on the use or
  • Cl 14(4) of SEPP clarifies that for a sensitive
    use, the RA is required to consider any
    significant effects of contamination by requiring
    a certificate or statement of EA indicating that
    the environmental conditions of the site are
    suitable for the sensitive use, prior to any
    buildings or works associated with the sensitive
    use commencing
  • Other uses or developments proposed on
    potentially contaminated land can also include an
    element of risk, and should be considered in
    accord with S.60 of PE Act and SEPP Cl 14


Identifying potentially contam land
  • Refer to Planning Practice Note
  • Determine if an Environmental Audit Overlay or
    other planning control exists on the site.
  • Review the Priority Sites Register
  • Review list of Certificates Statements of
    Environmental Audit
  • Review any site analysis presented under Clause
  • 54 or 55 of VPPs (require issues of site
  • to be identified)
  • Consider site history previous zoning / use
  • Inspect site any evidence or reason to suspect?


Identifying potentially contam land
  • Particular types of land uses or activities can
    act as trigger to collect more information
    (Table 1).
  • If this information not readily available,
    council (planning authority) may ask applicant to
    provide more information.

Identifying potentially contam land
Table 1 Potential for contamination (p.
3)(extract) High potential for contamination
includes land used for         
Abattoir          Abrasive blasting         
Airport          Asbestos production/disposal   
       Asphalt manufacturing          Automotive
repair/engine works          Battery
manufacturing/recycling          Bitumen
manufacturing          Boat building/maintenance
Brickworks          Chemical manufacturing /
Identifying potentially contam land (cont)
  • Medium potential for contamination can be
    identified by certain types of activities carried
    out on the land, which may be incidental to the
    main site activity. The nature of the products
    used or stored, the quantity stored, and the
    location of use or storage should be considered.
    Such activities might include
  •          Chemical storage
  •          Fuel storage
  •          Underground tank storage
  •          Market gardens
  •          Waste disposal
  •          Other industrial activities

Low potential for contamination is likely to
exist if none of the identified uses or
activities in the High or Medium Potential
categories are known to have been carried out on
the land.
Assessment Matrix

Assessment Matrix
  • The matrix (Table 2) provides a way to make a
    judgement about the type of assessment required
  • Environmental audit
  • Site assessment by a competent assessor
  • Advice from a competent assessor
  • General duty consider effects of environment
    on any development
  • Planning Env Act S.12(2)b 60(1)a(iii)

Information considerations - Summary
  • Is the site contaminated?
  • Is the site already covered by an EAO?
  • Is it on Priority Sites Register?
  • - Does it have a Certificate or Statement of Env
    Audit? What date?
  • - Is any contamination indicated on planning
    Site Analysis?
  • - What was site previous zone?
  • - What was site use?
  • - Any other information about activities carried
  • (eg, historical society records, anecdotal
    evidence from current or former residents or
    workers) How reliable is this info?
  • Is site to be used for sensitive use? Is there
    potential for site users to access soils?

Dealing with consultants
  • Identify your needs.
  • Identify which consultants have the skills you
  • Clearly define the scope.
  • Take the opportunity to review drafts / progress
    reports to ensure that your needs are being met.

Contacts for EPA
  • Your local EPA Region
  • Environmental Audit Unit
  • Chris McAuley Manager
  • Report pollution1800 444 004 (regional
    Victoria)9695 2777 (Melbourne metro)
  • EPA Information Centre9695 2722
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