Managing Contaminated Land

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 and / or groundwater as part of your development proposal to ensure the land is suitable for the proposed landuse.

Advice about contaminated land

General advice regarding contaminated land is available by contacting Council’s Environmental Services Unit on 4974 2000.  Please note 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.

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 obtained by holders of an appropriate s10.7 (2) certificate upon request by calling Council’s Environmental Services Unit on 02 4974 2000.

Unauthorised filling of land

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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 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.

Remediation of land usually occurs as a part of the redevelopment of the city's past industrial land or through specific remediation projects. Council plays a key role in the assessment and approval of remediation associated with these developments.

The  NSW EPA has the leading role in the management of remediation of significantly contaminated sites.

Further information and links