Posts Tagged contaminated land

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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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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