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Acid Sulfate Soil Assessment in Sutherland Shire

Metech Consulting were recently engaged by a residential property owner in Bundeena, NSW who was looking to modify their existing beachfront dwelling. Metech Consulting undertook an acid sulfate soils assessment to support their development application.

The assessment began with a desktop review, from which a sampling program was designed and implemented based on the proposed development.  The assessment determined that acid sulfate soils were present at the property, but were located outside of the development area.   Therefore, Metech Consulting concluded that acid sulfate soils at the property did not require further assessment or management to facilitate the proposed development.

Metech Consulting is a Sutherland Shire-based business with extensive knowledge of the local environment and experience preparing acid sulfate soil assessment and management reports for submission to Sutherland Shire Council. This knowledge and experience allows us to design our assessments to the specific requirements of the subject site and Council expectations.

If you require an acid sulfate soils assessment, management plan or advice regarding acid sulfate soils to support a development application, contact an expert at Metech Consulting

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Site Investigations in Brookvale, NSW

Metech Consulting was engaged by a private company who sought development consent to redevelop a former commercial manufacture facility into a modern, artisan food and drinks premises (micro-brewery) in Brookvale, NSW. 

Council records indicated an underground fuel tank was installed at the property in the 1970s and Northern Beaches Council required a contamination assessment to determine the suitability of the site for the proposed development.

Metech Consulting undertook a preliminary site investigation to assess all historical land use activities associated with the site and surrounding area, including further investigation of the potential fuel infrastructure. 

Metech Consulting then designed and implemented a detailed site investigation to assess the suitability of the site for the intended use, including soil and groundwater assessments.  The investigations concluded the site was suitable for the proposed and intended use.  Metech Consulting were able to provide the detailed site investigation report within just 3 weeks of engagement by the client.

The Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI) and Detailed Site Investigation (DSI) reports were submitted to Council to meet the consent conditions.  Council approval the development application within one week of submission of the reports, allowing the client to progress with the fit-out and use of the site as a micro-brewery.

Our team of experienced and qualified staff were able to provide a value-for-money, practical solution in an exceptionally short timeframe, allowing our client to progress their development and start their new business.

If you require a  preliminary site investigation and/or detailed site investigation or advice regarding contamination to meet development consent conditions, contact an expert at Metech Consulting.

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New Sampling Design Guidelines – Draft

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has produced new draft guidelines for the design of sampling strategies in the assessment of contaminated land.   The new guidelines will replace the current sampling design guidelines, released in 1995, to support and build on the nationally consistent approach set out in the National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999.

The guidelines will help consultants to design sampling for contaminated sites with respect to where samples are collected, how many samples are collected, and how the data is compared to relevant criteria. 

The guidelines assist contaminated land consultants, site auditors, regulators, planning authorities, landholders, developers and members of the public who have an interest in the outcomes of the assessment and management of contaminated land.

The draft guideline is open for feedback from 21 September to 8 November 2020.  The NSW EPA will review all feedback and a consultation report on the outcomes will be released prior to the finalisation and release of the guidelines.

Metech Consulting is currently reviewing the guidelines and will provide feedback to the NSW EPA.  Metech Consulting are committed to keeping up to date with the latest industry developments and participating in the development of new guidelines and best practices for contaminated land management.

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Metech Consulting Attends EcoForum 2020

The Metech team attended EcoForum 2020, hosted by the Australasian Land & Groundwater Association.

The 3-day annual industry event was held via e-conference this year and featured a variety of presentations from contaminated land experts around the world.  Topics included:  asbestos in soils and contaminants in uncontrolled fill;  management of petroleum hydrocarbons in difficult geologies;  PFAS source identification and remediation;  vapour and gas monitoring and risk assessment; and remediation of large and complex sites.

The conference was a success, and the Metech team had an opportunity to interact with our peers to discuss industry breakthroughs and the current challenges to the land and groundwater sector.

Metech Consulting are committed to continual improvement and professional development. By keeping up to date with the latest industry news, we consider the most modern and innovative methods available when advising the best approach for our clients.

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New Contaminated Land Guidelines 2020

In September 2019, the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) released the draft Contaminated Land Guidelines: Consultants Reporting on Contaminated Land (Consultants Guidelines) that will replace the existing Guidelines for Consultants Reporting on Contaminated Sites (2011).

The draft Consultants Guidelines outline the stages of reporting on the management of contaminated land and provide checklists of reporting requirements.  A reporting framework is provided to ensure that reports contain correct information in a suitable format to allow for efficient review by regulators, site auditors and other interested parties.

Key changes to the Consultants Guidelines include:

  • New stages:  Two new stages are included in the reporting process as:
    • Sampling and analysis quality plan: This new stage requires documentation of the planning process for collecting and evaluating data during the subject site investigation. The plans should vary in detail according to the scope and level of information available to the consultant and must be flexible to account for changes arising during site investigations.
    • Site specific risk assessments and modelling: The draft guidelines outline reporting requirements for site-specific risk assessments, such as Human Health Risk Assessments and Ecological Risk Assessments.  A tiered approach is recommended, with modelling to predict environmental concentrations where required. When undertaking modelling, the guidelines advise that consultants should clearly describe assumptions and uncertainties.
  • New requirements for existing stages:  Further details are provided on existing stages such as long-term site management and monitoring.  Monitoring reports must include: a background to the site (including a conceptual site model); justification for any departures from the required monitoring plan; and consideration of site-specific criteria which may trigger additional remediation work.
  • Duty to report: Following a preliminary site investigation or detailed site investigation, the draft guidelines advise that consultants should take reasonable steps to draw their client’s attention to any potential duty to report contamination as required under section 60 of the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997 (NSW).
  • Remedial action plans (RAPs): Guidance on what is to be included in a RAP has been expanded and clarified. RAPs must now:
    • summarise findings of preliminary and detailed site investigations;
    • document identified contamination risks to human health and/or the environment;
    • set remediation objectives to ensure a site will be suitable for its current or intended purpose;
    • define the extent of remediation required and assess options to achieve the remediation goals;
    • document in detail all procedures to reduce risks posted by contamination;
    • establish environmental safeguards required to complete remediation in an environmentally acceptable manner;
    • identify necessary approvals and licences;
    • outline waste classification, handling and tracking requirements;
    • ensure remediation is consistent with relevant laws, policies and guidelines;
    • identify how successful implementation of a RAP will be demonstrated; and
    • identify the need for and nature of any long term management.
  • Long-term site management: The draft guidelines state that where full clean-up is not feasible, or on-site containment of contamination is proposed, an environmental management plan (EMP) may be required. An EMP must address the mixing of environmental mitigation and monitoring measures for soil, groundwater and/or hazardous ground gases throughout an existing or proposed use. An EMP must also state its objectives and describe the nature and location of contamination at a site and what long-term site management is needed to ensure ongoing protection of human and environmental health.

Public consultation on the draft guidelines closed on 8 October 2019.  The guidelines are likely to be finalised and published in late March / early April 2020. 

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Development of a Resource Recovery Order & Exemption

Metech Consulting was approached by a company seeking large quantities of fill material to rehabilitate and revitalise a historic industrial facility in the Illawarra region, with minimal funding to do so.

Metech developed a solution to enable the importation of materials derived from off-site sources.

Under the provisions of the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2014, the NSW EPA has the authority to grant Resource Recovery Exemptions which allow for specific types of waste to be used for purposes other than disposal, where it can be demonstrated that the use of the material is a bona-fide, fit-for-purpose, reuse opportunity.

Metech prepared an application for a Specific Resource Recovery Exemption on behalf of our client, which was subsequently approved through Metech’s successful negotiation and agreement with the NSW EPA.  The Exemption was designed to enable our client to receive material from various off-site sources based on specific physical and chemical property requirements.

The importation process has been successfully implemented over the past year, providing our client with both the materials needed to revitalise previously redundant assets at the facility and a revenue stream through the importation of fill materials.

Metech’s solution enabled our client to realise future commercial opportunities, as well as providing excellent environmental outcomes by circumventing the material from landfill through genuine, best-practice waste minimisation.

To learn more about what environmental solutions Metech Consulting can provide for your business, contact an expert at Metech.

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New Ground Gas Assessment Guidelines

The NSW EPA published the ‘Assessment and Management of Hazardous Ground Gas: Contaminated Land Guidelines’ in late 2019.    The new guidelines replace the ‘Guidelines for the Assessment and Management of Sites Impacted by Hazardous Ground Gases’ (NSW EPA, 2012).

This second edition of the guidelines is timely as practitioners in NSW have gained substantial experience working with the 2012 guidelines.  There have been significant changes to other relevant guidance documents since 2012, including:

  • National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 (the ASC NEPM), which was revised in May 2013
  • British Standard (BS) 8576:2013, Guidance on Investigations for Ground Gas – Permanent Gases and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which was first published in 2013;
  • BS 8485:2015+A1:2019, Code of Practice for the Design of Protective Measures for Methane and Carbon Dioxide Ground Gases for New Buildings, fully revised in 2015, further amended in 2019; and
  • CIRIA C748, Guidance on the Use of Plastic Membranes as VOC Vapour Barriers, first published in 2014.

The guidelines have been updated to ensure consistency with these documents.    

Land uses associated with the generation of hazardous ground gases include:

  • Man-made:  waste landfills, uncontrolled fill, reclaimed wetlands and mangroves, agricultural wastes, sewers, burial grounds, chemical and other industrial sites, petroleum fuel sites, dry cleaning, electronics, foundry sands, natural gas pipes, mining.
  • Natural:  soil, swamps, wetlands, waterlogged soils, coal measures, organic and carbonate strata, natural gas traps and granite.

Hazardous ground gases may be an issue when redeveloping potentially contaminated land or development adjacent to such land.

Do you require a contamination assessment as part of a development approval?  Are you looking for an innovative approach to contamination assessment and management? The qualified and experienced professionals at Metech Consulting focus on site-specific, cost-effective solutions to solve contamination challenges and provide our clients with the advice they need.  Contact us with your enquiry here.


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New Asbestos Guidelines – WA 2020

10 years since their original publication, the WA Guidelines for the Assessment, Remediation and Management of Asbestos-Contaminated Sites are undergoing a 2020 update.

The original guidelines are widely respected for pioneering consistent procedures and protocols to quantify and manage asbestos in soil.  At the time of their publication, most adopted asbestos management standards related to asbestos safety in the workplace, rather than its management as a contaminant in the environment.  The National Environment Protection Council endorsed the Western Australia protocols within the National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 2013 – a testament to the need for a practical and standardised approach to managing asbestos in soil.

The draft guidelines (released in November 2019) contain the following distinct updates:

  • A focus on practicality, for example, acknowledging situations of “small scale or limited surface impact” and management options for low-risk situations, as well as the importance of responsible demolition in preventing asbestos-in-soil contamination at the source.
  • An emphasis on the importance of practitioner competency through appropriate training and experience, and the importance of sound conceptual site models to interpret laboratory results in the context of the broader site investigation.
  • Discussion of limitations of the widely endorsed laboratory method for asbestos trace analysis, Australian Standard AS4964.
  • Potential endorsement of other internationally validated techniques, such as electron microscopy and disposition methods, when accompanied by full justification and approval by relevant regulatory bodies.

Authors of the draft have expressed that intended outcomes for the guidelines are to allow innovation, greater engagement, more effective risk communication and smarter remediation.

Comments and enquiry submissions are due by 6 March 2020 with an estimated mid-year release date.

Looking for practical remediation solutions? Seeking an innovative approach to contamination management? The experienced environmental practitioners at Metech Consulting focus on site-specific, cost-effective solutions to solve contamination challenges and provide our clients with the advice they need.  Contact us with your enquiry here.

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Remediation in Sutherland Shire, NSW

Metech was engaged by a private company who had obtained development consent for a residential development in the Sutherland Shire, NSW subject to compliance with the consent conditions.  A detailed site investigation was required to meet the consent conditions.  Metech undertook a site inspection and the main potential source of contamination was observed as asbestos containing materials in soils.  Metech returned to the site to complete soil sampling adjacent to the potential contamination sources.

Soil sample results indicated the presence of asbestos in soils and remediation was required to ensure the site was suitable for the proposed residential use.  Metech prepared a Remediation Action Plan and undertook remediation of the site in accordance with the Plan.  The final Detailed Site Investigation Report, Remediation Action Plan and Validation Report were submitted to Council to meet the consent conditions.  The Validation Report concluded the site was suitable for the proposed residential land use allowing the client to progress with the re-development of the site.

If you require a  preliminary site investigation and/or detailed site investigation or advice regarding contamination to meet development consent conditions, contact an expert at Metech.

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