Contaminated land

Contamination may threaten human health and the environment, limit land use potential or increase development costs. The EPA regulates the investigation and clean-up of contaminated land to prevent pollution and safeguard community wellbeing.

Sites are typically clustered in areas that have been used for heavy industry or intensive agriculture or exist as individual sites that have been used for chemical storage, such as service stations and dry cleaning sites.

In very broad terms, the management framework for contaminated land in NSW consists of two tiers

  • the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), which uses its powers under the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997 (CLM Act) to deal with site contamination that is significant enough to warrant regulation under the Act given the site’s current or approved use.
  • local councils who deal with other contamination under the planning and development framework, including State Environmental Planning Policy No. 55 - Remediation of Land and the Managing Land Contamination - Planning Guidelines, on sites which, though contaminated, do not pose an unacceptable risk under their current or approved use. In these cases, the planning and development process determines what remediation is needed to make the land suitable for a different use.

Contaminated land management

More information

Review of the Procedural Guide

Download the Review of the EPA's Contaminated Land Management Act 1997 Procedural Guide (PDF 226KB), prepared by Emeritus Professor Chris Fell AM & Emeritus Professor Stephen Leeder AO.