Contaminated land site auditor accreditation process

Learn about the accreditation process for applicants who wish to become accredited site auditors.

Accreditation of site auditors

The EPA calls for applications from appropriately qualified and experienced people to become accredited Site Auditors under the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997 approximately every 3 years. Application requirements are based on Schedule B9 of the National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 and applicants are required to have extensive experience and a high level of expertise in:

  • assessment of contaminant exposure pathways
  • contaminated site assessment and remediation including management
  • evaluation and interpretation of chemical and analytical data
  • soil sampling design and methodology
  • soil gas sampling design and methodology
  • groundwater sampling design and methodology
  • identification of potential human health and environmental risks
  • quality control/quality assurance procedures; and
  • risk communication.

Applicants are also expected to be able to demonstrate a good understanding of NSW and national guidelines, policies and legislation relating to contaminated land and meet the selection criteria which is set out in the example application form.

Staged accreditation process

The accreditation process is staged and applicants successful at one stage are invited to the next. The first stage is the application (refer to example application form above). Prior to completing the application, all interested applicants are required to attend a mandatory briefing session explaining the process.

Those applications considered by the Accreditation Panel to have met the criteria will be invited to the next stage, which is a 3-hour open book exam. The exam comprises 5 sections and applicants are required to pass each section to advance to the next stage.

The next stage is an interview with the Accreditation Panel, which involves reviewing a case study followed by questioning by the Panel.

The final stage involves administrative checks, including provisions of details of expert support team members and insurance cover, followed by a briefing by the EPA to discuss procedural matters.

Appeals and feedback

There is no formal appeals process under the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997 for unsuccessful applications for auditor accreditation. However, unsuccessful applicants can seek feedback from the EPA after completing any stage of the accreditation process.

Application and accreditation fees 

From 1 September 2023, the application fee for accreditation as a site auditor is $1,234 and the accreditation fee for a period one year or less is $8,620. See the  2023 adjusted amounts notice (PDF 600KB).

These fees are set under section 6 and 7 of the Contaminated Land Management Regulation 2022. The fees are adjusted on 1 September each year, in line with movements in the Public Sector Wage Price Index.

A site auditor may apply to the EPA to waive or refund all or part of the accreditation fee in certain circumstances set under section 8 of the Contaminated Land Management Regulation 2022.

Accreditation panel

The functions of the accreditation panel are:

  1. to make recommendations to us regarding the suitability of an applicant for accreditation, and
  2. to provide other advice to us as requested.

The accreditation panel is constituted under section 49 of the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997 (the Act) consists of 4 or more members appointed by us, each having appropriate technical expertise, of whom at least:

  1. one is to be an officer of the EPA who is appointed as the Chairperson, and
  2. one is to be a representative of community environmental groups appointed on the nomination of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW Incorporated, and
  3. one is to be a representative of industry, and
  4. one is to have tertiary qualifications in a discipline relevant to the contamination of land.

Accreditation panel selection process

The selection process for appointing panel members is in general accordance with the requirements set out in the Public Service Commission Appointment Standards: Boards and Committees in the NSW Public Sector July 2013, and includes:

  • seeking of applications from suitably qualified and experienced candidates, taking into account statutory requirements for the panel composition, together with the essential skills required for all panel members, including the capacity to think critically, be objective and be able to understand and manage conflicts of interest.
  • applications may be sought by:
    • advertising on the EPA website or in an EPA newsletter/s
    • contacting relevant industry groups, professional associations, EPA’s (or equivalent) in other jurisdictions which have auditor schemes
    • receiving nominees from a specified group or organisation, e.g. Nature Conservation Council (a member of which is stipulated in the CLM Act).
  • assessment of applications of prospective panel members, taking into consideration the principles of merit, fairness, diversity and integrity. 
  • formal approval by the CEO, to fill a panel vacancy.
  • appointment of panel members, based on the skills, knowledge and experience of the candidates to fulfil the functions of the accreditation panel as set out in Section 49 of the CLM Act.

Panel members are generally appointed for a 3-year term, which will be specified in their notice of appointment, but are eligible for re-appointment. The panel members will be identified to interested applicants at the briefing session at the commencement of each accreditation round.

Accreditation panel composition

Member role

Statutory requirements for panel composition - Section 49 of the CLM Act

Chair – EPA Director Environmental Solutions – Chemicals, Land and Radiation

Section 49(2)(a) one [panel member] is to be an officer of the EPA who is to be appointed by the EPA as the Chairperson

Community group representative

Section 49(2)(b) one [panel member] is to be a representative of community environmental groups appointed on the nomination of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW Incorporated

Industry representative

Section 49(2)(c) one [panel member] is to be a representative of industry

Representative with relevant tertiary qualifications

Section 49(2)(d) one is to have tertiary qualifications in a discipline relevant to the contamination of land

EPA representative from team that administers the auditor scheme

No statutory requirement

Representative from another jurisdiction with a contaminated land site auditor scheme who has experience in administering that scheme.

(Dependent on another jurisdiction agreeing to nominate a suitable officer to join the panel.)

No statutory requirement

Representative with auditor experience

(Dependent on an individual with the relevant experience being identified which does not have a conflict of interest.)

No statutory requirement

Mutual recognition of site auditors

Auditors registered / accredited in another State can apply to be accredited in NSW in accordance with the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 (Cth).

Applicants must complete and lodge the the mutual recognition application notice (DOCX 52KB) and declaration form (DOC 51KB) with us.

Automatic mutual recognition of site auditors accredited in other states does not currently apply in NSW.

See automatic mutual recognition for occupational licences and registrations.