Managing Contaminants in Soil (NES)

National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil (NES)

Subdivision of land now triggers the requirement under the NES to establish whether or not the current or past use of the land has had an activity occur on it that is listed on the Hazardous Activities and Industries List (HAIL).

Where an application to subdivide is submitted to Council, records of the site will be reviewed often by historical aerial photography and consideration given to the history of activities that have occurred on site. Contamination can remain on a site undisturbed for a number of years. If there is evidence of contamination then the property maybe classified as a “Piece of Land” by NES definition and warrant further investigation.

Typically, investigation consists of a series of reports depending what is discovered by the initial investigation otherwise known as a Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI). If the PSI identifies that there is contamination above accepted levels then this will be followed by a Detailed Site Investigation (DSI) and possibly a Site Management Plan to control earthworks on the site and or removal of the contaminated soils.

RPC has encountered this situation on both larger and smaller scale developments with solutions ranging from material removal to establishing identified areas post development that are suitable for normal use e.g. gardening and other areas that must be grassed or otherwise set aside.

RPC has found that early assessment against the HAIL and discussion with Council minimises delays in Council processing and management of the situation should a HAIL activity have occurred on site.

Contact me for further advice on this issue if you think your property may have had a HAIL activity occur on it and you are considering further subdivisional development.

Paul Ellison
0274 409 462