As recently as the 1980s chemicals used by industry were simply tipped down drains and poured onto soil to evaporate. Buildings that contained asbestos weren’t always demolished and disposed of properly and asbestos-contaminated soil was used as a top soil or fill material.
There was a lack of awareness about the long term impacts all these activities could have and laws were not in place to prevent them from happening. The result is that Australia has an estimated 160,000 contaminated sites.
Soil testing and laboratory analysis is required to identify if there are any contaminants on your property that may be a risk to you or the environment.
How JTA Can Help
JTA can investigate land for potential contamination from domestic, agricultural and industrial land use. We are able to undertake soil contamination testing and provide advice in relation to land contamination queries. Our field investigations are conducted in accordance with the relevant legislative requirements within the EPA Victoria State Environmental Protection Policies (SEPP); and the National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 2013 (NEPM).
A Soil Assessment Includes:
- A Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI) including a review of the site history and anecdotal material and a site walk through to look for signs of contamination/asbestos
- Depending on the outcome of the PSI, it may be necessary to report the site to the EPA as a known or suspected contaminated site or to consider a Detailed Site Investigation (DSI)
- Soil sampling involved in the PSI or DSI will be conducted in accordance with the EPA Industrial Waste Resource Guidelines (IWRG)
- Samples collected from the site are sent to a NATA accredited laboratory for analysis
- Results from the laboratory analysis are compared to the National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contaminated) Measure (NEPM) Amended 2013 guidelines and the IWRG Soil Hazard Categorisation and Management. If “total” results exceed a certain limit, the EPA requires that leachability testing be undertaken in accordance with the Australian Standard Leaching Procedure (ASLP) (Australian Standards AS4439.2 and 44396.3) by a NATA accredited laboratory.
- A report detailing the project aim, site history, sampling methodology, laboratory results and recommendations
- Depending on the outcome of the analysis, further sampling may be required, remediation processes may need to commence or the site may be cleared as clean fill
- An understanding of the environmental condition of a site
- The ability to make informed decisions on redevelopment options
- Improvement in the value and environmental condition of a site
- Peace of mind that you have addressed all regulatory requirements
- Determination of potential liabilities associated with a site
Your Duty In Relation To Soil Assessments
Since land contamination is part of the overarching Environmental Protection legislation and associated regulations and policies, it is a heavily regulated industry and strictly enforced. By ensuring you properly classify soil when you are unsure of its contamination status, you are adhering to your legal responsibility and contributing to a better environment.
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