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.
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).
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.
changes to the Consultants Guidelines include:
- New stages: Two new stages are included in the reporting
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.
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
findings of preliminary and detailed site investigations;
identified contamination risks to human health and/or the environment;
remediation objectives to ensure a site will be suitable for its current or
the extent of remediation required and assess options to achieve the remediation
in detail all procedures to reduce risks posted by contamination;
environmental safeguards required to complete remediation in an environmentally
necessary approvals and licences;
waste classification, handling and tracking requirements;
remediation is consistent with relevant laws, policies and guidelines;
how successful implementation of a RAP will be demonstrated; and
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
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.