NSW Contaminated Land Management Act Compliance

The NSW Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) updated the Contaminated Land Management Compliance Statement in July 2018. The purpose of this update was to set out specific powers and tools that the EPA can use to enforce compliance with the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997. Let’s take a closer look at those powers and tools.

The EPA can serve orders and notices requiring contaminated land owners to carry out specific actions in relation to site investigation, remediation, and reporting.

  • Preliminary investigation order – requires a preliminary site investigation to be carried out.
  • Voluntary management proposal – the site owner can provide the EPA with a voluntary management proposal for the site, and the EPA can either agree with the proposal or escalate to a management order at the time or later if milestones aren’t met.
  • Management order – the EPA can order that any action be carried out in the management of significantly contaminated land. Orders include specific actions, schedules of deliverables, and outcomes.
  • Ongoing maintenance order – an order requiring ongoing management of a contaminated site.
  • Prevention notices – can be issued when the EPA reasonably suspects that activities in relation to contaminated land have been carried out in a way that harms the environment. These notices set out preventative and restorative actions and controls.
  • Clean up notices – the EPA can issue clean up notices ordering that a potential or occurring pollution incident be prevented, minimised, or mitigated.

When a party doesn’t comply with an EPA order or notice, the EPA can use a variety of compliance tools to make sure that contaminated land is properly and safely managed. These include advisory and show cause letters, formal warnings, official cautions, penalty notices, enforceable undertakings sanctioned by the Land and Environment Court, and finally, the EPA can prosecute land owners and responsible parties for non-compliance or serious breaches of the Contaminated Land Act.

The EPA also has the power to conduct site inspections, audits, campaigns, and investigations in relation to contaminated land at any time.

Compliance with the Contaminated Land Management Act can be difficult to negotiate and administer. For site investigations and help with making sure your development project is compliant, contact iEnvi on 13000-43684 or email [email protected].

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