Contaminated Land

Contamination is defined as ‘the condition of land or water where any chemical substance or waste has been added at above background level and represents, or potentially represents, an adverse health or environmental impact’ (National Environment Protection Measure, 1999).

For details and further information about Council’s policy regarding contaminated land go to Section 5.02 Land Contamination - Newcastle Development Control Plan 2012.

How can I find out whether land is (or may be) contaminated?

If you have concerns regarding contaminated land at your property you can contact an environmental consultant to provide you with advice regarding contamination. A list of environmental consultants can be found in the telephone directory.

The NSW Enivironment Protection Authority  can also provide advice regarding engaging a contaminated land consultant in NSW.

You may obtain a section 149(2) and / or a section 149(5) planning certificate for the property from Council. These certificates will list any reports or other documentation required to be disclosed on the certificate by Council pertaining to contamination

Note: Different information is required to be listed on the section 149(2) and section 149(5) certificate see Section 5.02 Land Contamination - Newcastle Development Control Plan 2012 for further information. Purchase of a section 149(5) certificate will also include the 149(2) certificate for the property.

You may contact the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage  to see whether there are any declarations, orders or notices regarding contamination that may be applied to the land.

How is contaminated land managed by Council?

Section 5.02 Land Contamination - Newcastle Development Control Plan 2012 details Council’s policy regarding the management of contaminated land issues.

If you intend to develop land that is contaminated, or the landuse history indicates the land may be contaminated, Council may require you to investigate remediate and / or validate contaminated soil or groundwater as part of your development proposal to ensure the land is suitable for the proposed landuse.

Where is contamination information listed?

If Council is required to list contamination information on a planning certificate it will be located at:

Section 149(2)
Under Item 7 – Land Contamination
Under Item 10 – Contaminated Land Management Act, 1997

Section 149(5)
Under the sub-heading ‘Other Matters’ which is the last item listed on the certificate.

Reports and other documents listed under the contaminated land section of your certificate may be viewed at Council’s City Administration Centre at 282 King Street, Newcastle.

You must first call Council’s Environmental Services Unit on 02 4974 0000 to arrange a time to come in and view the document.

Reports may only be viewed and limited photocopies are allowed. If you require copies of the entire reports you must obtain permission from the report owner.

What is a Site Audit Statement?

A Site Audit Statement is generally required by Council to be produced during the redevelopment of land with more significant or complex contamination issues that require a higher level of review to ensure land is suitable for the proposed landuse. See Section 5.02 Land Contamination - Newcastle Development Control Plan 2012 for further information.

Copies of statutory site audit statements held by Council may be viewed by (or faxed to) holders of an appropriate s149 (2) certificate upon request by calling Council’s Environmental Services Unit on 02 4974 2525.

Advice about contaminated land

General advice regarding contaminated land may be provided by Council’s Environmental Services Unit on 02 4974 0000, however Council cannot provide a detailed interpretation of a contaminated land report.

For further detailed advice regarding a contaminated land report you may need to contact an appropriately qualified person such as an environmental consultant to assist you.

Information regarding the general filling of Carrington

The following statement may be applied to the s149 (5) certificate for some properties within the suburb of Carrington:

Land history information indicates that the land may be within an area at Carrington which was once low lying and which may have been filled. Limited investigation indicates that filling material within this area may contain ballast and industrial slag, and that this material may contain heavy metals such as lead.

The Council does not hold information as to whether or not such material occurs on the land. Prospective purchasers are advised to make their own enquiries in this respect.

In the event that such material is found to occur on the land, this fact should be taken into account in the use or development of the land. Soil sampling and remediation may be required prior to any further development of the land.

For further information, contact the Council's Environmental Services Unit, phone 02 4974 0000.

If you find this statement on your certificate Council recommends that you take time to read document below:

 Carrington fill contamination fact sheet (pdf)

Unauthorised filling of land

Generally the filling of land (with soil or other materials) requires a development application to be lodged with Council in accordance with the Newcastle Local Environment Plan.

You may face fines, legal action and clean up costs if you are involved in the illegal filling of land.

Many people inadvertently contaminate land by allowing fill to be placed without first lodging a development application and by not by not taking appropriate measures to ensure the fill is uncontaminated.

All fill imported onto a site must be suitably validated for the proposed land use to ensure it will not adversely impact the site (or nearby sites) as a result of contamination in accordance with appropriate NSW Environment Protection Authority guidelines.

Remediation

As defined in State Environmental Planning Policy 55 (SEPP 55) remediation means:

(a) removing, dispersing, destroying, reducing, mitigating or containing the contamination of any land, or (b) eliminating or reducing any hazard arising from the contamination of land (including by preventing the entry of persons or animals on the land).

In accordance with SEPP 55 remediation works in NSW may be defined as either Category 1 (requiring consent) or Category 2 (not requiring consent).

Category 1 and category 2 remediation works

The definition of category 1 remediation works is complicated and is outlined in clause 9 of SEPP 55.

Category 2 remediation works constitute any remediation works that are not considered category 1. Though consent is not required, notification of the proposed works must be made 30 day prior to commencement and within 30 days after the completion of works to the relevant local Council. Clauses 16 and 18 of SEPP 55 describe the information which must be included in these notifications to Council.

An important requirement of category 2 remediation works is that they must be carried out in a manner that complies with any policy made under the Contaminated land Planning Guidelines by the relevant local council (see clause 9 of SEPP 55).

In the Newcastle Local Government Area this requirement is particularly relevant as it means that to be considered category 2 remediation, the works must comply with the various requirements for category 2 remediation in Section 5.02 Land Contamination - Newcastle Development Control Plan 2012 - a Council policy made under the Contaminated Land Planning Guidelines.

Note: It is a requirement of element 4.2 of the Development Control Plan that any Preliminary and Detailed Investigation reports, RAP’s and Validation reports that have been prepared for the remediation works, be submitted to Council. This information is also essentially required to be submitted to Council under clause 18 of SEPP 55. This information is very important for future development of the site.

Further information and links

Section 5.02 (Contaminated Land Management) of the Newcastle City Council DCP

Site Contamination National Environmental Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999

NSW Environment Protection Authority - Management of Contaminated Land

Contaminated Land Management Act 1997

Enviroment Planning Authority -  Engaging a Contaminated Land Consultant in NSW

State Environmental Planning Policy 55 - Remediation of Land