Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Contaminated land

Contaminated land can have major economic, legal and planning implications for the community. Contamination may limit land use potential or increase costs for developers and councils. Their investigation and clean-up is important to protect human health and the environment.

Although contaminated sites can occur anywhere, they are typically clustered in areas which have been used for heavy industry or chemically intensive agriculture. They may also include residential properties, for example, from flaking of lead-based paints or excessive pesticide use.

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.

More information on contaminated land management in NSW

More information on the following contaminated land topics

Contaminated land in NSW State of the Environment 2015

Review of 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.

Page last updated: 07 July 2017