Contaminated land—meaning of remediation

The following Environment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Contaminated land—meaning of remediation
  • Meaning of remediation
  • Assessment actions
  • Remedial treatment actions
  • Monitoring actions
  • When is remediation required under Pt IIA?
  • Process of remediation under Pt IIA
  • Remediation actions
  • Phased remediation
  • Remediation of multiple SCLs
  • More...

Contaminated land—meaning of remediation

Meaning of remediation

'Remediation' is given a relatively wide definition in the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Pt IIA (EPA 1990). It may involve a range of actions, including:

  1. assessment actions: to assess the condition of contaminated land, controlled waters affected by that land, or any adjoining or adjacent land

  2. remedial treatment actions: to remove or disrupt significant contaminant linkages (SCLs)

  3. monitoring actions: inspections to monitor the condition of the contaminated land, controlled waters or any adjoining or adjacent land

Essentially, remediation is the action(s) required to remove the risks posed to human health, the environment or controlled waters, and to return the land to a state that is suitable for its current use.

The broad aims of remediation are to:

  1. remove identified SCLs or permanently disrupt them so they are no longer significant and risks are reduced below an unacceptable level

  2. take reasonable measures to remedy harm or pollution caused by a SCL

Assessment actions

Assessment actions may be required where information on the condition of the land is needed to:

  1. characterise an SCL so that any remedial treatment actions can be identified

  2. enable the technical specifications or design of any remedial treatment action

  3. assess whether, after remedial treatment actions have been carried out, further remediation might be required

Remedial treatment actions

Remedial treatment actions are intended to remove or disrupt SCLs. They may involve one

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