Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

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Measures as amended, taking into account amendments up to National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Amendment Measure 2013 (No. 1)
Administered by: Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Registered 03 Jun 2013
Start Date 16 May 2013

Commonwealth Coat of Arms

National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999

as amended

made under section 14(1) of the

National Environment Protection Council Act 1994 (Cwlth), the National Environment Protection Council (New South Wales) Act 1995 (NSW), the National Environment Protection Council (Victoria) Act 1995 (Vic), the National Environment Protection Council (Queensland) Act 1994 (Qld), the National Environment Protection Council (Western Australia) Act 1996 (WA), the National Environment Protection Council (South Australia) Act 1995 (SA), the National Environment Protection Council (Tasmania) Act 1995 (Tas), the National Environment Protection Council Act 1994 (ACT) and the National Environment Protection Council (Northern Territory) Act 1994 (NT)

Compilation start date:                     16 May 2013

Includes amendments up to:            National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Amendment Measure 2013 (No. 1)

This compilation has been split into 22 volumes

Volume 1:       sections 1-6, Schedules A and B

Volume 2:       Schedule B1

Volume 3:       Schedule B2

Volume 4:       Schedule B3

Volume 5:       Schedule B4

Volume 6:       Schedule B5a

Volume 7:       Schedule B5b

Volume 8:       Schedule B5c

Volume 9:       Schedule B6

Volume 10:     Schedule B7 - Appendix 1

Volume 11:     Schedule B7 - Appendix 2

Volume 12:     Schedule B7 - Appendix 3

Volume 13:     Schedule B7 - Appendix 4

Volume 14:     Schedule B7 - Appendix 5

Volume 15:     Schedule B7 - Appendix 6

Volume 16:     Schedule B7 - Appendix B

Volume 17:     Schedule B7 - Appendix C

Volume 18:     Schedule B7 - Appendix D

Volume 19:     Schedule B7

Volume 20:     Schedule B8

Volume 21:     Schedule B9

Volume 22:     Endnotes


Each volume has its own contents




About this compilation

The compiled instrument

This is a compilation of the National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 as amended and in force on 16 May 2013. It includes any amendment affecting the compiled instrument to that date.

This compilation was prepared on 22 May 2013.

The notes at the end of this compilation (the endnotes) include information about amending Acts and instruments and the amendment history of each amended provision.

Uncommenced provisions and amendments

If a provision of the compiled instrument is affected by an uncommenced amendment, the text of the uncommenced amendment is set out in the endnotes.

Application, saving and transitional provisions for amendments

If the operation of an amendment is affected by an application, saving or transitional provision, the provision is identified in the endnotes.


If a provision of the compiled instrument is affected by a textual modification that is in force, the text of the modifying provision is set out in the endnotes.

Provisions ceasing to have effect

If a provision of the compiled instrument has expired or otherwise ceased to have effect in accordance with a provision of the instrument, details of the provision are set out in the endnotes.









National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 National Environment Protection (Assessment of

Schedule B2

Site Characterisation













































Explanatory Note
The following guideline provides general guidance in relation to investigation levels for soil, soil vapour and groundwater in the assessment of site contamination.

This Schedule forms part of the National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 and should be read in conjunction with that document, which includes a policy framework and assessment of site contamination flowchart.

It aims to ensure consistency in characterisation of potentially contaminated soils, groundwater, vapour and soil gases in order to inform appropriate human health and ecological risk assessment. It should be read in conjunction with other Schedules to the Measure. 

The original Schedule B2 to the National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 has been repealed and replaced by this document.

The National Environment Protection Council (NEPC) acknowledges the contribution of a number of individuals and organisations towards the development of these guidelines; in particular, the WA Department of Environment and Conservation, CRC CARE, CSIRO Land and Water, WA Department of Health, and individual officers of the NSW Office of the Environment and Heritage, the QLD Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, EPA Victoria, and the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing.

Site characterisation

1                             Introduction                                                    1

2                             Stages of investigation                                    2

2.1             Preliminary site investigation                                                     2

2.2             Detailed site investigation                                                           3

3                             Preliminary investigations                              4

3.1             Site identification                                                                        4

3.2             Current and proposed use                                                         4

3.3             Site history                                                                                   4

3.3.1                Site plan and historical maps and aerial photographs    5

3.3.2                Land Use Zoning                                                              5

3.3.3                Present owners, occupiers and current users of the site 5

3.3.4                Previous owners and occupiers of the site                      5

3.3.5                Previous activities/uses                                                    5

3.3.6                Services to the property (including sewer
and underground services)                                             

3.3.7                Previous and present building and structures                 6

3.3.8                Industrial processes carried out on site and the
products manufactured                                                   

3.3.9                Chemical storage and transfer areas                              6

3.3.10             Raw materials used                                                          6

3.3.11             Intermediate products                                                     6

3.3.12             Product spills, losses, incidents and accidents
(including fire)                                                                 

3.3.13             Discharges to land and water                                          6

3.3.14             Wastes produced                                                              6

3.3.15             Power generation                                                             7

3.3.16             Waste disposal locations and imported fill                      7

3.3.17             Earthmoving activities carried out on the site                7

3.3.18             Interview information                                                      7

3.3.19             Sources of information                                                    7

3.4             Environmental setting                                                              11

3.5             Local geology and hydrogeology                                             11

3.6             Site inspection                                                                           12

4                             Conceptual site models                                  14

4.1             Overview                                                                                   14

4.2             Iterative development of conceptual site models                    14

4.3             Essential elements of conceptual site models                          14

4.4             Assessing data gaps and uncertainties in conceptual
site models                                                                                

5                             Systematic planning for collection of
environmental data                                      

5.1             Introduction                                                                              17

5.2             Data quality objective process                                                 17

5.3             Sampling and analysis quality plans                                       18

5.4             Quality assurance and quality control                                    19

5.4.1                Overview                                                                        19

5.4.2                Field quality assurance procedures                               19

5.4.3                Field quality control procedures                                   19

5.4.4                Sample handling, storage and transport                       20

5.4.5                Chain of custody                                                            20

5.5             Choice of analytes                                                                     20

5.6             Data quality assessment                                                           21

6                             Sampling Design                                           22

6.1             Introduction                                                                              22

6.2             Categories of sampling designs                                                22

6.2.1                Judgemental sampling                                                   23

6.2.2                Simple random sampling                                                23

6.2.3                Systematic and grid  sampling                                       23

6.2.4                Stratified sampling                                                         24

6.2.5                Transect sampling                                                          24

6.2.6                Composite sampling                                                       24

6.3             Selecting a sampling design                                                      25

6.4             Sampling density and depth of sampling                                26

7                             Soil assessment                                              28

7.1             Introduction                                                                              28

7.2             Soil investigation techniques                                                    29

7.2.1                Test pits and trenches                                                    29

7.2.2                Intact soil coring                                                            29

7.2.3                Cone Penetrometer Testing                                           29

7.2.4                Membrane interface probe                                            29

7.2.5                Laser-induced fluorescence                                           30

7.2.6                Soil vapour surveys                                                       30

7.2.7                Ground penetrating radar                                             31

7.3             Field description of soils                                                           31

7.4             Field testing                                                                               31

7.4.1                Gas detector tubes                                                         32

7.4.2                Colorimetric test kits                                                     32

7.4.3                Headspace testing using photo-ionisation and flame
ionisation detectors                                                       

7.4.4                Field portable x-ray fluorescence                                  33

7.4.5                Field gas chromatography                                             33

7.4.6                Immunoassay test kits                                                    33

7.5             Stockpile sampling                                                                    33

7.5.1                Excavation and inspection of the stockpile                   33

7.5.2                Number of samples                                                        34

7.5.3                Sample point distribution                                               34

7.5.4                Sampling                                                                         35

7.6             Assessment of soil leachability to groundwaters and
surface waters                                                                          

7.6.1                Leaching potential to groundwater and surface water 35

7.6.2                Soil leaching tests                                                           35

7.6.3                Theoretical calculation of porewater concentration    35

7.6.4                Disposal of contaminated soils                                       35

8                             Groundwater assessment                              36

8.1             Groundwater investigation approaches                                 36

8.1.1                Introduction                                                                   36

8.1.2                Scope of investigation                                                    37

8.1.3                Site-specific conditions                                                   37

8.1.4                Analyte-specific characteristics                                     38

8.2             Monitoring well establishment                                                 38

8.2.1                Introduction                                                                   38

8.2.2                Logging of boreholes                                                     39

8.2.3                Well construction                                                           39                 Screen depth and length                                                            40                 Filter packs and filter socks                                                    41                 Sealing and backfilling of boreholes                                    42                 Headworks                                                                                   42                 Well development                                                                      42

8.2.4                Groundwater sampling                                                  43                 Target analytes                                                                           44                 Contaminant distribution                                                         45                 Decontamination requirements                                              45                 Field filtration                                                                            45

8.2.5                Monitoring and profiling of groundwater parameters 45

8.2.6                Groundwater levels and flow direction                         46

8.2.7                Groundwater velocity and hydraulic conductivity       47

8.3             Delineating groundwater contamination                                48

8.3.1                Lateral delineation of groundwater contamination      48

8.3.2                Vertical delineation of groundwater contamination     49

8.3.3                Special considerations for DNAPLs                              50

8.3.4                Attenuation of groundwater contaminants                   51

9                             Vapour assessment                                        52

9.1             Introduction                                                                              52

9.2             Vapour  intrusion assessment framework                              52

9.2.1                Introduction                                                                   52

9.2.2                Preliminary screening                                                    52

9.2.3                Conceptual site model                                                    53

9.2.4                Multiple-lines-of-evidence approach                             54

9.3             Sampling and analysis plan design                                          54

9.3.1                Confounding sources of VOCs and SVOCs                  55

9.3.2                Biodegradation                                                              55

9.3.3                Undeveloped land                                                           55

9.3.4                Preferential migration pathways                                   56

9.3.5                Environmental factors                                                   56

9.4             Soil vapour sampling                                                                57

9.4.1                Introduction                                                                   57

9.4.2                Active soil vapour sampling                                          58                 Temporary spear probing                                                       58                 Permanent multi-level probes/samplers                              58                 Online VOC and oxygen probes                                             59                 Factors for consideration when undertaking active
soil vapour sampling                                                                

9.4.3                Passive soil vapour sampling                                         60

9.4.4                Flux chamber methods                                                   61                 Introduction                                                                                 61                 Static chamber                                                                            61                 Dynamic chamber                                                                      61                 Factors for consideration when using flux methods         61

9.5             Sample collection and analysis                                                 62

9.5.1                Active methods                                                               62                 Sorbents                                                                                        62                 Canisters                                                                                       62                 Other methods                                                                             62

9.5.2                Passive methods                                                             63

9.5.3                Laboratory analytical methods                                     63

10                          Contaminant fate and transport modelling 64

10.1          Overview of contaminant fate and transport modelling       64

10.2          Data requirements                                                                    65

10.3          Limitations of fate and transport modelling                          65

10.4          Types of model                                                                          66

11                          Assessment of asbestos soil contamination   69

11.1          Introduction                                                                              69

11.2          Preliminary site investigation                                                   69

11.2.1             Site history investigation                                               69

11.2.2             Site inspection                                                                70

11.2.3             Sampling                                                                         70               Condition of asbestos materials                                             70               Condition of the soil and future uses                                     71

11.3          Detailed site assessment                                                            71

11.3.1             Sampling and analysis                                                    72

11.3.2             Assessing concentration and distribution of
asbestos in soil                                                               

12                          Assessment of dioxins and dioxin-like

13                          Data analysis                                                 79

13.1          Data quality assessment                                                           79

13.2          Statistical analysis                                                                     79

13.2.1             General                                                                          79

13.2.2             Censored data                                                                81

13.2.3             Outliers                                                                          81

14                          Report presentation                                      83

14.1          Introduction                                                                              83

14.2          General requirements                                                              83

14.3          Graphics overview                                                                    84

14.4          Site plans                                                                                   84

14.5          Presentation of contamination data                                        85

14.6          Presentation of tabulated laboratory analytical results         86

14.7          Presentation of bore logs                                                          86

14.8          Photography                                                                             86

14.9          QA/QC documentation                                                            86

14.10        Electronic data                                                                          87

15                          Protection of the environment during site

15.1          General considerations                                                             95

15.1.1             Core environmental protection elements                      95

15.1.2             Less obvious concerns                                                   95

15.2          Addressing environmental protection issues                          96

15.2.1             Management of dust and offensive and noxious

15.2.2             Protection of groundwater resources                           97

15.2.3             Site run-off, drainage and sedimentation                      97

15.2.4             Contamination carry-over to public roads and

15.2.5             Collection and disposal of contaminated water            98

15.2.6             Collection and disposal of excavation spoil                   98

15.2.7             Noise and vibration                                                        98

15.2.8             Acid sulfate soil                                                              99

15.2.9             Heritage sites                                                                 99

15.2.10          Rare habitats or endangered species                            99

16                          Bibliography                                               100

17                          Appendix A: Possible analytes for soil

18                          Appendix B: Data quality objectives
(DQO) process                                            

18.1          Introduction                                                                            113

18.2          The seven-step DQO process                                                 113

18.2.1             Step 1: State the problem                                             113

18.2.2             Step 2: Identify the decisions/goal of the study           114

18.2.3             Step 3: Identify information inputs                              115

18.2.4             Step 4: Define the study boundaries                            115

18.2.5             Step 5: Develop the analytical approach
(or decision rule)                                                         

18.2.6             Step 6: Specify the performance or acceptance

18.2.7             Step 7: Optimise the design for obtaining data           116

18.3          Notes about decision errors and decision-making               116

19                          Appendix C: Assessment of data quality    118

19.1          Assessment of reliability of field procedures and
laboratory results                                                                   

19.2          QA/QC analytical methods                                                    118

19.3          Field methods                                                                          118

19.4          Laboratory screening methods                                              118

19.5          Methods specific for contaminants                                       118

19.6          Data quality indicators (DQIs)                                              119

19.7          Field QA/QC                                                                           121

19.8          Laboratory QA/QC                                                                122

19.9          QA/QC documentation                                                          122

19.10        Quality assurance and quality control checklist                   123

Field quality assurance and quality control                                                   123

Laboratory QA/QC                                                                                              123

QA/QC data evaluation                                                                                       124

20                          Appendix D: Example data presentation
on scale drawings and borehole logs         

21                          Appendix E:  Dioxins and dioxin-like

21.1          Background                                                                            134

21.2          Occurrence of dioxins and dioxin-like compounds              134

21.3          Results from the National Dioxins Program (May 2004)    135

22                          Shortened forms                                          136



1                   Introduction

Adequate site characterisation is the foundation for appropriate assessment of health and environmental risks associated with site contamination. This guideline provides information on the design and implementation of soil, groundwater and vapour sampling programs and the presentation of site assessment reports. Guidance is also provided on the minimum measures that should be adopted to ensure protection of the environment during site assessment. Site-specific management measures must ensure compliance with environmental management and protection legislation applying in each jurisdiction.


Risk of explosion or other acute exposure hazards should be addressed immediately and is not within the scope of this guidance document.


The investigation components of an assessment of site contamination are:

·         establishing the objectives of the site assessment

·         desktop study and detailed site inspection

·         compiling a site history from relevant site-related information

·         development of a conceptual site model (CSM)

·         identification of data gaps

·         development of data quality objectives (DQOs)

·         design of a sampling strategy and optimisation of a sampling and analysis quality plan (SAQP)

·         data collection (delineation of potential and known contamination)

·         data validation, analysis and interpretation (including risk assessment and iterative development of the CSM)

·         coherent presentation and reporting.

The characterisation of site contamination should only be conducted by professional environmental practitioners who are suitably qualified and experienced in the assessment of contaminated sites. For further information on suitable qualifications and experience, refer to Schedule B9.


2                   Stages of investigation

Source: Davis et al. (2006) and Clements et al. (2009)

Schedule A of the National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 (NEPM) shows the staged site assessment process and indicates that this guideline applies to both preliminary and detailed site investigations.


Many site investigations proceed in multiple stages due to the complexity of site conditions and of contaminant properties and/or the discovery of unexpected contamination. Poorly planned and executed site investigations are likely to result in time delays and additional costs (both during the investigation and any subsequent remediation) and inadequate or misleading data which may result in risks to human health and/or the environment not being addressed.


Site investigation efforts should be purpose driven, adequate in scope and of sufficient quality to meet the purpose of the assessment. They should provide representative site data. In order to achieve these objectives, the recommended procedures are to clarify the purpose of the investigation, develop a CSM, develop DQOs and identify significant data gaps. An SAQP can then be designed and implemented to achieve the desired objective(s).


Depending on the proposed land use and the results of initial site history investigations, the preliminary and detailed investigations may be incorporated into a single phase of investigation. Proponents and site assessors may also wish to adopt an accelerated site characterisation approach whereby rapid and ‘real-time’ sampling and field analytical methods, and on-site interpretation and iteration of field data, are undertaken in order to expedite the characterisation process. Further information on accelerated site characterisation methods can be found in Clements et al. (2009), and at www.triadcentral.org/tech, as well as on the Environment Canada website at www.on.ec.gc.ca/pollution/ecnpd/contaminassist_e.html .


The CLU-IN website at www.clu-in.org/characterization, produced by the Technology Innovation and Field Services Division of the US EPA, contains a wide range of current information on site characterisation and monitoring techniques for gas/air, soil, sediment and water. The information includes performance specifications, advantages and limitations and indicative costs.

Regardless of the approach taken, the site investigation must cover all the components identified in Section 1, which enable an appropriate level of risk assessment for human health and the environment to be undertaken.

2.1              Preliminary site investigation

Preliminary site investigations (PSIs) usually include a desktop study to collect basic site information and identify the site characteristics (site location, land use, site layout, building construction, geological and hydrogeological setting, historical land uses and activities at the site), a site inspection and interviews with current and past owners, operators and occupiers of the site and preparation of a report.


The preliminary investigation should be sufficient to:

·         identify potential sources of contamination and determine potential contaminants of concern

·         identify areas of potential contamination

·         identify potential human and ecological receptors

·         identify potentially affected media (soil, sediment, groundwater, surface water, indoor and ambient air).

The findings of the PSI are used to develop an initial CSM (refer Section 4). The PSI report should clearly identify any significant data gaps and include an assessment of the accuracy of the information collected.


It is not necessary to delineate any contamination at the PSI stage. Limited sampling may be included in a PSI, providing sufficient information is available to compile an appropriate site health and safety plan. Any investigations undertaken, however, are usually confined to areas where potentially contaminating activities have occurred and involve a site history-based sampling plan.


This Schedule provides guidance on the scope of preliminary investigations. Reference may also be made to AS 4482 and more generally to ASTM E1527–05 for information on the various elements which may be included in a preliminary site investigation.

If thorough preliminary investigation shows a history of non-contaminating activities and there is no other evidence or suspicion of contamination, further investigation is not required.

2.2              Detailed site investigation

A detailed site investigation (DSI) is required when the results of the preliminary investigation indicate that contamination is present or is likely to be present and the information available is insufficient to enable site management strategies to be devised. Potential or actual contamination will usually require further delineation. Potential contamination may have been indicated by the presence of underground structures (for example, underground fuel or chemical storage tanks), the presence of fill (for example, ash, odorous material or various types of waste) or staining of soil. Actual contamination may have been detected in the form of contaminants that are not naturally occurring or as elements or compounds that are above background levels or exceed the investigation or screening levels (see Schedule B1 for more information).


The detailed investigation stage should identify the nature of the contamination and delineate its lateral and vertical extent to a sufficient degree that an appropriate level of risk assessment may be undertaken and, if necessary, provide the basis for the development of an appropriate remediation or management strategy.

3                   Preliminary investigations

The purpose of collecting basic site information is to identify potential contaminants, potentially affected media and potential areas of contamination by reviewing the site history, physical setting including local geology and hydrogeology, and site conditions. The information collected is used to develop an initial CSM (refer Section 4) of the site.


A site inspection should be undertaken to complement the findings of the desktop study and site history and to identify any additional relevant site information. It is recommended practice to conduct interviews with current site owners and occupiers and, where practicable, previous site owners and occupiers.


It is essential that the location of the site and the significant features involved in its history be accurately and clearly identified. The PSI report should clearly identify any significant data gaps and include an assessment of the accuracy of the information collected.

3.1              Site identification

The current legal description (real property description, for example, lot number X on plan XX) of all affected parcels and the street number and name and suburb should be obtained, together with a copy of the current certificate of title. It is also useful to list any common name or description by which the site is or has been known.


Where multiple lots are involved, plans that show lot boundaries in relation to significant features should be obtained. Maps (including street maps), plans or diagrams should be used to clearly identify the location of all affected land parcels in relation to their surrounds, for example, street access, neighbouring property boundaries, parks, local watercourses and any areas of environmental significance.

3.2              Current and proposed use

The following details should be obtained:

·         current uses of the site

·         map and narrative description of proposed use(s) for the site

·         current land zoning of the site, for example, industrial, mixed commercial, residential, educational

·         type of proposed use—in the context of the categories detailed in Schedule B1

·         density of residential use (if proposed)

·         type of users, e.g. residents (adults and children), workers, ecological

·         local government approval(s) for proposed use (and date).

3.3              Site history

Source: Edwards et al. (1994)  &  NSW EPA (2011)

A site history should contain, as far as practicable, all available information that assists in identifying the potential nature and extent of site contamination. It may also be useful for identifying features (for example, current and disused utilities) that may act as potential preferential contaminant migration pathways. It may include the use of video or photographic logs to assist with site documentation.


Sources of information for compiling a site history include but are not limited to:

·         past and current owners and occupiers, operators or workers at the site and adjacent properties

·         local knowledge of residents

·         current and historical aerial and ground photographs

·         past involvement with government authorities or consultants (environmental audits, notices etc.)

·         trade and street directories

·         historical societies and local, state or territory government libraries

·         historical titles back to original deeds

·         local literature, including newspapers

·         technical literature, including plumbing and building permits/plans, flammable and combustible liquid storage and handling licences

·         complaint history and information from environmental licences and trade waste permits held by local government or state government departments

·         geological survey maps and reports

·         groundwater/drinking water protection zones

·         groundwater abstraction licences

·         local government development approval records, sewer and underground service plans

·         site layout plans.

To compile a site history, the assessor should consider the issues described below in Sections 3.3.1 to 3.3.19.

3.3.1        Site plan and historical maps and aerial photographs

It is essential to have a locality map and a current plan of the site, with scale bar, indicating the site orientation (including north) and general topography of the property, local water drainage and other environmentally significant features. A review of the site history with dates as deduced from current and historic aerial photographs and other historical information should be included (where available). In addition to historical aerial photographs, other historical maps and plans are at times available and can be of great value (for example, government department maps and plans, local council records, street directories, topographic maps, geological maps, mining plans, and records of the mining department (where appropriate) etc).

3.3.2        Land Use Zoning

Necessary records include previous, present and proposed zoning, and relevant development and building approval records.

3.3.3        Present owners, occupiers and current users of the site 

If these are not the parties responsible for the assessment and management of the site then those who are (or are thought to be) responsible should also be identified if possible.

3.3.4        Previous owners and occupiers of the site

These should be listed chronologically, noting any periods during which ownership or tenancy is unknown or uncertain.

3.3.5        Previous activities/uses

A chronological list of land uses should be compiled, focusing on industrial uses or other potentially contaminating activities, and including any periods during which the land use is unknown or uncertain. While ‘small tannery’ may be seen as an imprecise description, it nonetheless provides some information about the nature, severity and distribution of any potential contamination. Precise industrial capacities of properties should be cited if available. The chronology should include dates when areas of the site were sealed, for example, by concrete slabs, in relation to the occurrence of potentially contaminating activities to prevent unnecessary under-slab sampling, although the potential for the migration of contamination underneath hardstands from adjacent sources will need to be taken into account. Consideration should also be given to uses on adjacent sites that could be a source or receptor of contamination.

3.3.6        Services to the property (including sewer and underground services)

Site plans showing the location, elevation and size of sewers, stormwater drains and underground utilities (such as communications infrastructure) should be included, as these may assist in identification of preferential contamination migration pathways.

3.3.7        Previous and present building and structures

These are generally best illustrated by a series of annotated site maps showing the locations of permanent and semi-permanent structures, offices, sheds, reaction vessels, storage tanks, etc. These should be presented in chronological order to show how the site developed. Key building design features such as the nature of foundations, presence or absence of crawl spaces or basements should also be included. The age and nature of buildings and infrastructure should be considered in relation to potential occurrence and distribution of asbestos-containing-materials. Where infrastructure has been decommissioned, the site history should note whether any potentially contaminating contents are known to have been removed (for example, whether tanks and pipelines were drained or simply blocked off).

3.3.8        Industrial processes carried out on site and the products manufactured

A list should detail the products from the industries and activities identified as being relevant to the site.

3.3.9        Chemical storage and transfer areas

Locations should be indicated on the scaled site plan and chemicals stored and transferred at each area identified.

3.3.10    Raw materials used

A list of raw materials stored or used at the site should be compiled. Chemicals should be identified by systematic names as well as common or trade names.

3.3.11    Intermediate products

These are important in both batch and continuous production processes. Residual reaction components and intermediate products may have been discharged from reaction vessels prior to production runs. Quality assurance procedures may also have included sampling points from intermediate stages in the manufacturing process which may have been allowed to drain away or be otherwise discarded on site.

3.3.12    Product spills, losses, incidents and accidents (including fire)

These should be listed chronologically, together with an indication of the material spilled, estimates of quantity, extent of fire damage and structures affected.

3.3.13    Discharges to land and water 

The types of waste currently and historically discharged should be identified. Where practicable, the quantities should also be established.

3.3.14    Wastes produced

This requires an understanding of the processes being performed in the industries and activities identified above. Wastes may be identified specifically (for example, waste degreasing solvents including carbon tetrachloride) or more generally (for example, acid slurry).

3.3.15    Power generation

Many historical activities required steam as part of the process or for power generation. Before the advent of electric power, generation of steam could have progressed from solid to liquid fuels requiring fuel storage and disposal of ash. This may have resulted in contamination by fuel and combustion products, for example, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). If the power requirement was large, a sub-station with a transformer(s) may have been on site with the attendant risk of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) spills. In addition, fibrous asbestos may have been used for insulation purposes.

3.3.16    Waste disposal locations and imported fill

Locations of solid waste and liquid waste disposal areas and liquid waste lagoons, settling tanks, sumps and soak wells should be identified in the maps and figures described above. The location of any wells on site should be indicated as these may have been used historically for liquid waste disposal.


Historically, many industrial wastes and diverse contaminated fill were considered a low-cost source of material to level or elevate sites. Wastes may have originated from on-site industrial activities or have been introduced from unknown off-site sources. Residential and industrial/commercial areas around major industries (for example, coal gas works, power stations, and mineral processing plants) may have been filled with ash, coke, hydrocarbon impacted fill, metal waste and various wastes originating from the industrial activity.


Sites should be assessed for areas of fill, particularly if there are reasonable grounds to suspect the original land form has been altered such as by filling gullies and watercourses.

3.3.17    Earthmoving activities carried out on the site

This information will assist in determining the source and location of any imported fill. Consideration should also be given to the possibility that earthmoving activity may have resulted in redistribution and burial of contamination.

3.3.18    Interview information

Interviews with past property or business owners and occupiers and employees should be conducted where practicable. The objective of interviews is to confirm information collected in the desktop study and to gain additional relevant site information (for example, source of drinking water, presence of wells on-site, date of connection to sewer, history of spills and leaks, arrangements for liquid and solid waste disposal etc.). Owners and occupants of neighbouring properties may also be able to provide useful information.

3.3.19    Sources of information

A log of all sources consulted for site history information should be kept so that the completeness and reliability of the information collected, and hence confidence in the desktop study results, may be assured. Personal recollections and anecdotal records should be cross-checked where possible and any limitations of the information noted. This information should be clearly documented in the PSI report.



Table 1. An example of a site chronology table where the gaps in the data and inadequacies of information are readily identified






or land use

Process equipment plant

Chemicals inputs

by-products waste

Buildings, structures and services

Soil cover vegetation paved areas

Fill and excavation


1993 (to Mar)

PD Nominees

PD Nominees

Springwater bottling







1986 (from Sept)

PD Nominees

PD Nominees

Vinegar bottling


Acetic Acid

20 x 30 m Warehouse built Nov 1986

Site completely covered by a concrete slab


Soil logs available from the warehouse construction

1979 (11 Jun)

PD Nominees

R McLaren

Motor vehicle repair and car park



solvents lubricants

No buildings on site unfenced

Half of site covered by 150 mm of coarse gravel

Coarse gravel …

Surface oil waste contamination

1979 (10 Jun)


1978 (5 Nov)

F Bath

F Bath

Electrical workshop


Solders, capacitors, mercury switches

Workshop destroyed in fire



Burning building associated with colourful flames

1979 (5 Nov) 1972

R Bath











R Bath

R Bath and Sons

Process control and electrical motor maintenance

Burnt coatings off copper wire for scrap copper sales





(some complaints under the Clean Air Act)



1958 (Sept)

R Bath and

D Fergusson

R Bath and

D Fergusson

Electrical motor rewinders



Tannery building converted to workshop


Tannery pits filled


1958 (Sept) 1958 (Feb)

D Muldoon


Land being subdivided

Unoccupied due to closure of tannery




(property still fenced), drying shed removed



Cadastral survey records show ground level at 0.35 metres lower than in the 1979 survey

Source: van Alphen (1993)


Figure 1. An example of the representation of site history information on a time line, to enable a check of the completeness of available information. This graphic illustrates 5 pages of site history text.

Waste Disposal 	Goods Stored 		Site Use



ß                       Tram depot                       à









ß Motor bus


Govt  experimental orchard on adjacent land à










? Trolley bus depot …   à



Bus depot à


? ……  ‘mental health facility’     à



ß                           Staff depot                         à




































































à            Tram batteries

                Paint shop

                Armature shop

                Machine shop




’67 - ’72




Air photo











 à 1:500 site plans



















Fuel storage:

Petrol  à Diesel?

6 surface tanks 1970s







?                            As & herbicide ?             à



















North part of

site sealed
















Tram barns demolished


wastes dumped in

service pits?




























ß                                Southern                                à

part of site unsealed


? …… à








Stated adequate liquid waste and lubricant disposal from sludge pits, sumps and service pits