Managing contaminated land in NSW

In NSW, the management of contaminated land is shared by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), the Department of Planning and Environment and planning consent authorities (usually local councils).

Under the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997 (CLM Act), the EPA regulates contaminated sites where the contamination is significant enough to warrant regulation. 

Contaminated sites that are not regulated by the EPA are managed by local councils through land-use planning processes.

The EPA also administers the NSW site auditor scheme under Part 4 of the CLM Act, makes or approves guidelines for use in the assessment and remediation of contaminated sites, and administers the public record of regulated sites under the CLM Act.

The EPA may also be involved with the remediation of contaminated sites by

  • performing technology reviews under the Environmentally Hazardous Chemicals Act 1985 (EHC Act) and assessing proposed technologies for treating certain chemical wastes (such as scheduled chemical wastes) in order to establish their effectiveness in meeting desired outcomes
  • assessing licence applications for remediation proposals (where required) as part of the integrated development assessment process
  • issuing and enforcing licences (where required) that regulate waste treatment, storage and/or disposal facilities, under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act) or the EHC Act
  • issuing clean-up and prevention notices under the POEO Act
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