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Councils Role in Managing Contaminated Land

Councils may be required to consider contaminated land or UPSS in the following business processes:

  • Land use planning, including in preparing planning proposals and in the making of local environment plans and development control plans
  • Development assessment and consent
  • Complying and exempt development
  • Inspection and monitoring
  • Waste management
  • Information and data management, including furnishing of contaminated land information required on section 10 planning certificates, and maintaining their contaminated land site register

The potential of site contamination should be determined by Councils. This would require Councils to clarify if there is any ‘source’ of contaminants, and to identify the on- and off-site ‘receptors’ and the ‘pathway’ of the contaminants. This is of particular importance in a process involving a change in land use, and if a change in land use is to a sensitive receptor.

A report on this assessment will confirm if there is any potential risk of harm, and state whether land is suitable for its proposed use, or can be made suitable through remediation. This assessment should also consider adjacent land as either the source of the contaminants, or the use of that land (i.e. sensitive receptor).

Generally speaking, an assessment process comprises various steps:

  • Initial evaluation undertaken by Council
  • Assessment of site contamination undertaken by a suitably qualified consultant
  • Remediation
  • Validation
  • Ongoing monitoring (if required).

The Assessment of Site Contamination Reports resource ( PDF | Word ) provides detailed process information on these steps. Checklists attached to this resource can be used by Councils to navigate the assessment process.

This platform provides general guidance on the considerations for these steps specific to Council business processes. More detailed information is provided in the resources and training materials  page including the Council Guidance on Implementing the Contaminated Land Policy ( PDF | Word ).