Engaging professionals who have the relevant qualifications, competencies and experience is important. Contaminated site assessments are inherently complex and usually present a wide range of issues requiring a multi-disciplinary approach, including scientific, technical and project management skills. Assessments must also meet relevant standards, quality assurance and regulatory requirements.
As of 1 July 2015, a person certified under the Site Contamination Practitioners Australia (SCP Australia) scheme or an interstate auditor (accredited under the legislation listed below) must be used to conduct (or review) a range of contaminated site assessments.
The list of SCP Australia certified practitioners is available at: http://scpaustralia.com.au/scp-australia-directory/.
Interstate auditors are those accredited under the following legislation:
New South Wales – Contaminated Land Management Act 1997.
South Australia – Environment Protection Act 1993.
Victoria – Environment Protection Act 1970.
Western Australia – Contaminated Sites Act 2003.
Queensland – Contaminated Land Auditors under the Environmental Protection Act 1994.
A person commissioning a contaminated site report for any of the following purposes must ensure the consultant providing the report (or the party conducting an independent review of the report) is certified under SCP Australia or an auditor:
When works are required by the Director, EPA to address land or groundwater contamination. The requirement to use a SCP Australia Certified Practitioner /auditor will be specified in a Notice issued under the Environmental Management & Pollution Control Act 1994.
Information in Decommissioning and Rehabilitation Plans (DRPs) relating to the assessment / remediation of contaminated soil, surface water and ground water on Level 2 premises, where required by the Director in a Permit or DRP guidelines.
When an environmental assessment of the area around decommissioned underground storage tanks is required under the Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Underground Petroleum Storage Systems) Regulations 2010.
Where the Director’s comment is sought to satisfy Local Government requirements in relation to proposed more sensitive land uses on contaminated or potentially contaminated land.
At this stage SCP Australia/auditor certification will not be required for routine monitoring work in relation to Level 2 activities. This may be phased in over time.
Where a SCP Australia practitioner/auditor conducts the assessment the report must contain a statement regarding their qualifications (and in the case of the SCP Australia certified practitioner their unique identifying number).
Where a certified practitioner/auditor conducts an independent review of a site assessment, remediation or validation report they must provide a cover letter stating that they have independently reviewed the report and confirm that the methodology stated to have been used by the consultants and their interpretation of data are consistent with current EPA legislation and guidelines including the National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 (as amended).
For other site contamination assessments such as:
Due diligence works designed to quantify environmental liabilities prior to the purchase of a site or the commencement of a lease;
Assessment at the end of a lease in accordance with a contract to ensure that a site has not been contaminated during the lifetime of a lease;
it is recommended that a SCP Australia certified practitioner or auditor is used. If you do not intend to use a certified practitioner or auditor, it is recommended that you refer to Schedule B9 of the National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 and Information Bulletin 114 - Guide to Engaging an ESA Consultant which provide guidance on engaging appropriate consultants to undertake the assessment of contaminated land and prepare assessment reports.