Planning & site contamination
Site contamination assessment
From 19 March 2021, under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016, the planning system includes a standardised legislative framework to assess and manage risks posed by known or potential site contamination to enable the safe development and use of land.
The new legislative framework will result in referrals to the EPA for development applications involving a change of land use to a more sensitive use (or a ‘sensitive use’ in the case of land division) where certain classes of potentially contaminating activities previously occurred. The purpose of the referral is for the EPA to determine, based on risk, who is the most appropriate practitioner to provide a statement of site suitability (either a site contamination consultant or site contamination auditor).
The legislative framework is supported by the Planning, Development and Infrastructure (General) Regulations 2017, Planning and Design Code, and Practice Direction 14: Site Contamination Assessment 2021.
Benefits of the new system
- protecting the health of the community more effectively by ensuring that site contamination is adequately investigated according to the level of risk
- protecting the value of residential properties from the adverse impacts of retrospective identification of site contamination, and
- providing clarity and certainty to developers about when site contamination will be assessed, what DA information is required to be submitted, when an EPA referral is required and limiting the circumstances that a site contamination audit is required to higher risk proposals.
Resources, including FAQs and roadmaps, have been prepared to assist applicants, relevant authorities, site contamination professionals and planning consultants to operate within the new system and can be found on the PlanSA website on site contamination assessment.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact the EPA by telephone (08) 8204 9075 or by email.
Site contamination referrals to the EPA
The Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016, in conjunction with the Planning, Development and Infrastructure (General) Regulations 2017 and Planning and Design Code, describes the circumstances when a development application must be referred to the EPA for site contamination assessment purposes.
Through the referral the EPA plays a role in preventing site contamination that may be caused through a change in land use to a more sensitive use (or ‘a sensitive use’ in the case of land division). The referral is not about regulating site contamination under the Environment Protection Act 1993.
The Site contamination assessment decision-making framework guideline describes how the EPA will make decisions on referred development applications and is intended to assist consultants, auditors and developers understand the EPA’s preconditions for a site contamination audit.
The framework describes:
- the legislative scheme for site contamination assessment referrals under the PDI Act and EP Act
- the main steps in the EPA assessment of site contamination referrals
- EPA decision-making principles
- the factors that will inform the EPA’s determination of the appropriate practitioner to provide a statement of site suitability (known as preconditions for audit)
- the types of information that the EPA may require through a request for information
- how the EPA will provide direction to relevant planning authorities.
An information sheet summarises the purpose and benefits of the guideline.