Contaminated land refers to land contaminated by hazardous substances (such arsenic, DDT or oil) which may pose a risk to human health and/or the environment. Common land uses which are known to cause contamination include service stations and landfills.
Land in the Strathfield Municipality has many current and historical different uses which can include residential, industrial, commercial and railway uses. In some situations the uses of land have caused contamination. Historically, industrial activities such as disposal and use of chemicals have contaminated land and groundwater. However, contamination of land is not solely limited to previous or current industrial sites.
Under the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997 (CLM Act), the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) regulates contaminated sites that pose a significant risk of harm to human health or the environment.
Contaminated sites that are not regulated by the DEC are managed by local councils through land use planning processes.
Strathfield Council is required by legislation to consider whether land is contaminated. As part of the Development Application process, Council requires applicants to provide information about contamination in certain circumstances. This information is often provided as part of the Statement of Environmental Effects. The Applicant is required to address issues such as previous and current land uses and activities of the site and adjoining sites, any known contamination of the land and details of any contamination investigation reports or remediation works that have occurred on the land.
The State government legislative requirements are provided through State Environmental Planning Policy No. 55 Remediation of Land and The Contaminated Land Management Act 1997. The Contaminated Land Management Act, 1997 enables the Department of Environment and Conservation (Environment Protection Authority) to respond to contamination that is causing significant risk of harm to human health or the environment and sets out criteria for determining whether such risk exists.
Strathfield Council’s Consolidated Development Control Part K (2005) provides guidelines for development on contaminated land.
Contaminated Land Information on Section 149 Planning Certificates
Strathfield Council is legally required under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 and the Contaminated Land Management Act, 1997 to note on Section 149 (2) Planning Certificates whether the land which the Certificate relates is:
- within land declared to be an investigation area or remediation site,
- subject to an investigation order or a remediation order,
- the subject of a voluntary investigation proposal (or a voluntary remediation proposal) the subject of the Environment Protection Authority’s agreement,
- subject to a site audit statement.
Acid Sulfate Soils
Acid Sulfate Soils are natural soils and sediments that contain iron sulfide. When the sulfide is exposed to air, such as after drainage and excavation, the soils form sulfuric acid. This acid can leach into the surrounding area, taking with it toxic quantities of iron, aluminium and heavy metals. These travel into surrounding drains, wetlands, creeks, estuaries and bays, causing environmental damage. It can affect industries such as fishing and tourism and can impact on public and private infrastructure by causing serious damage to steel and concrete structures such as the foundations (footings) of a building. It can also corrode drinking water pipes.
The former Department of Land and Water Conservation has mapped areas in NSW that contain acid sulfate soils. The maps are referred to as the Acid Sulfate Soil Risk Maps. First published in 1995 and updated in 1997, they cover the entire NSW coastline and have been adapted for planning purposes.
The Acid Sulfate Soils Risk Maps for the Strathfield Municipality are available for viewing on the NSW Department of Environment and Conservation website and at Council’s Customer Service Centre. Please refer to these maps if you are thinking of building in an area that might be affected by acid sulfate soils.
For further information please contact Council’s Environmental Services department on 9748 9963.