Contaminated Land Management Act and Regulation

Contaminated Land Management Act 1997

This Act allows the EPA to respond to contamination that it has reason to believe is significant enough to warrant regulation.


The Act gives the EPA power to

  • declare land to be ‘significantly contaminated land’
  • order a person to undertake a preliminary investigation of land the EPA suspects to be contaminated
  • order a person to take management actions for significantly contaminated land
  • approve a voluntary proposal to manage significantly contaminated land
  • order ongoing maintenance of land that has been subject to a management order or voluntary management proposal.
  • impose a public positive covenant or restriction on the use of land
  • require a responsible person or company (a responsible party) to provide a financial assurance to secure and guarantee funding for certain actions that are required by management or ongoing maintenance order, or by public positive covenant or restriction
  • issue a clean-up or prevention notice as soon as it is notified of contamination, so that it can take immediate action to prevent further contamination and clean-up of the site.

The order of people the EPA may direct to take action is the

  1. person/s responsible for the contamination
  2. owner/s
  3. notional owner/s

A public authority may also be directed to take management action for contaminated land. Those ordered to take management action may appeal against the order. They can also recover costs from the person/s responsible for the contamination in some circumstances.

Duty to notify

Landowners and parties  responsible for land contamination must notify the EPA of the potential contamination.

Site auditor scheme

The Act allows the EPA to accredit people as site auditors. Site auditors must issue a site audit statement indicating the land uses that any site is suitable for.

More information on site auditors is found in NSW site auditor scheme.

Record of information

The EPA must keep a record of current and former regulated sites. Certain information about current sites is referred to councils, who must record and make the information available on planning certificates.

More information on current and former regulated sites is found in notified and regulated contaminated land.

Contaminated Land Management Regulation 2022

The  Contaminated Land Management Regulation 2022 (Regulation) replaced the Contaminated Land Management Regulation 2013 (2013 Regulation) on 26 August 2022 with some changes to improve the administration of the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997 (CLM Act). 

The Regulation

  • provides for the recovery of administrative costs by the EPA in connection with orders and proposals made under the Act
  • provides for the accreditation of site auditors
  • prescribes certain offences as penalty notice offences and prescribes penalty notice amounts.
  • requires consideration of the EPA’s financial assurance policy and guidelines 
  • prescribes the protocol for monetary benefits accrued or accruing by an offender
  • enables the EPA to waive or refund the accreditation fee payable by a site auditor in certain circumstances 
  • aligns the amount payable for certain penalty notice offences under the CLM Act with amounts for similar offences under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997
  • sets out the particulars to be included in site auditors’ annual returns, for example the type of site audit, details of audit terminations and revisions of statutory site audits.

The EPA invited public feedback on the draft Contaminated Land Management Regulation 2022 and related regulatory impact statement between 28 March and 2 May 2022. We published our consultation report summarising the feedback we received and our responses

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