The South Australian Government is updating the procedures in regard to development on contaminated sites. The procedures have been discussed with industry experts, site contamination professionals and the community and now the Government is seeking to amend related policy and regulation.
A number of land parcels in South Australia have some form of contamination, most often within the layers of soil below the surface.
Certain contaminants left behind by previous land uses can cause problems for human health if they are present in high enough concentrations.
South Australia’s development system contains provisions to make sure that, when land use changes, possible contamination is investigated and remediated where necessary to make the land safe.
Planning authorities, developers and other stakeholders have an important role in managing site contamination by ensuring good planning and development doesn’t exacerbate risk.
When a development application is received and assessed by a local council or the state planning authority, checks are usually carried out on what the land was previously used for to determine if contaminants may be present.
Most of the time when land changes use, minor contamination can be remediated easily, but in a small number of cases, further investigation and remediation is required.
The draft framework sets out updated procedures for planning authorities to follow when they investigate contamination potential on land proposed for development.
The main purpose of the updated procedures is to match the level of risk with the appropriate level of investigation. It is also designed to facilitate the timely and appropriate consideration of contamination issues and will encourage clarity in evaluations undertaken by planning authorities.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other State Government agencies are working together to reduce the large volume of referrals sent to the EPA each year for low-risk environmental matters associated with development proposals.
The public consultation process concluded on 2 October 2015.