Contaminated land - Shoalhaven City Council

Contaminated land

Land contamination is most often the result of past uses. It can arise from activities that took place on or adjacent to a site and be the result of improper chemical handling or disposal practices, or accidental spillage’s or leakages of chemicals during manufacturing or storage. Activities not directly related to the site may also cause contamination; for example, from diffuse sources such as polluted groundwater migrating under a site or dust settling out from industrial emissions.

The Contaminated Land Management Act 1997 requires persons to notify the EPA if they become aware that their activities are contaminating land or their land has been contaminated, so as to present a significant risk of harm to human health or the environment. Failure to inform the EPA can result in fines of up to $77,000 for individuals and $165,000 for corporations.

If you carry out any of the activities listed below or any of these activities have taken place on your land in the past, then your land may be contaminated.

acid or alkali plant and formulation

metal treatment

agricultural or horticultural activities

mining and extractive industries


oil production and storage

asbestos production and disposal

paint formulation and manufacture

chemicals manufacture and formulation

pesticide manufacture and formulation

defence works

power stations

drum reconditioning works

railway yards

dry cleaning establishments

scrap yards

electrical manufacturing (transformers)

service stations

electroplating and heat treatment processes

sheep and cattle dips

engine works

smelting and refining

explosives industry

tanning and associated trades

gas works

waste storage and treatment

iron and steel works

wood preservation

landfill sites


Are you causing contamination now?

Most businesses have the potential to cause contamination with the chemicals and fuels they use. Leaks, spills and other discharges of these materials damage not only the surrounding soils but can also travel from your land to neighbouring properties and creeks via ground water and surface water flows.
Under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 there are severe penalties that can be imposed for a range of environmental offences including water pollution. Penalties for water pollution can be up to $250,000. In addition, on the spot fines range up to $1500 per offence.

Preventing contamination
Contamination can be avoided by proper handling, storage and disposal of your materials.
If a spill or leak does occur then contamination can be minimised by undertaking an immediate and thorough clean-up procedure.

What happens when you try to sell your land?
Council keeps records of information it receives about premises with contamination issues, including complaints, council investigations and past land uses.
This information can be supplied to the public including potential purchasers in planning certificates and by application under the Freedom of Information Act.

More information -

Council's Contaminated Lands Policy

If you are concerned about contamination on your land then you can contact:
  • Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Ph: 131555
  • An Environmental Consultant in the yellow pages.
  • Council’s Environmental Services Section Ph: (02) 4429 3111
Department of Urban Affairs and Planning and Environment Protection Authority (1998) Managing Land Contamination: Planning Guidelines, DUAP, Sydney.
Newcastle City Council Business Pollution Fact Sheet – Contaminated Land.

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