Why do I require a Contamination Report ? (Preliminary Site Investigation or Detailed Site Investigation) ?

Please see the link below for an article with my comments etc for Australia


We are often asked by clients “why are council requesting a contamination report ?”.  Why do I require a Preliminary Site Investigation under SEPP 55 ??  What is a Detailed Site Investigation ??  These recent articles on ABC News and Nine News provide an example.  The articles outline the impacts which can occur from the use of chemicals which were used frequently in the past but were not at the time of use known to be a high risk.  Now however, like asbestos risks and asbestos contamination we know the risk to be high and dangerous to human health.  In this case the chemical(s) were Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).  These are members of a group of chemicals known as perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). Both PFOS and PFOA are very persistent in the environment.  They were used in firefighting foams by the Australian Air Force at the Williamstown Air Force Base which resulted in groundwater contamination.  The contamination means residents cannot drink their bore water or eat home-grown vegetables or eggs from farmyard chickens.  A resident has stated that banks are withholding loans in the area and valuers are not coming to site when they find out it’s in the exclusion zone.  As such, and in addition to the associated potential health risks of such contamination events, land values suffer making it more difficult to sell and lowering the price.  So why has council requested a Preliminary Site Investigation becomes quite clear when you consider that a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (Preliminary Site Investigation) is used to identify potential risks of contamination to a property.  Groundwater contamination is only one of the potential types of contamination.  Soils are often contaminated by previous use of a site or from illegal dumping which often occurs around larger cities and urban areas (particularly western Sydney).  As Environmental Consultants based in Sydney we come across contamination situations quite often.  As part of any purchase (just like a home inspection) it is well worth obtaining the services of an experienced environmental consultant to undertake an assessment of the property to determine the potential risk of contamination by way of a Phase 1 Preliminary Site Investigation report.  If there is an identified risk of potential contamination then a Phase 2 Detailed Site Investigation should be undertaken to determine if there is contamination present, it type, extent and recommended remediation.  In many countries these reports are extremely common and are linked to the mortgage application process and are requested by the banks before providing finance.  The banks protect their investment by only providing mortgages to customers purchasing a “clean” site.  Australia lags behind somewhat as this is not often a request by banks or thought of by purchasers of property.  It is however a critical part of Due Diligence with any property purchase particularly if it is a farm, disused piece of land or former industrial site or if the history of the site is uncertain.  The impacts of purchasing a contaminated piece of land can include significant health impacts and significant financial losses through clean up costs.

Extension for the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017

Recently there has been an extension provided as a result of the new legislation which was implemented on the 25th of August 2017 in relation to the implementation of the Biodiversity Conservation Act and the Biodiversity Assessment Method Implementation time period.  The details of these extensions are detailed below.  This will provide developers of land more time for lodgement of Development Applications in relation to addressing the Ecological Assessments and Flora and Fauna Assessments that are required under the Biodiversity Conservation Act.  This extension grants provisions for new or existing applications to be assessed under Part 4 of the EPA&A Act.  This provides extensions until 25th August 2018 for the following designated local government areas

  • Camden,
  • City of Campbelltown,
  • City of Fairfield,
  • City of Hawkesbury,
  • City of Liverpool,
  • City of Penrith and
  • Wollondilly

We are here to assist our clients meet their time and development objectives by providing timely and profession service in relation to Flora and Fauna Assessments, Species Impact Statements and Biodiversity Offsets through the Biodiversity Assessment Method.  We provide Biodiversity Development Assessment Reports for our clients to assist in determining offsets required for the removal of listed vegetation and threatened species or their habitats

“The Minister for the Environment has made an amendment to the Biodiversity Conservation (Savings & Transitional) Regulation 2017 (BC (S&T) Regulation). The amendment extends to 6 months from commencement of the Biodiversity Act 2016 the period for which former planning provisions apply to local developments across the State. The amending regulation can be viewed online https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/regulations/2017-663.pdf and a summary of the key elements is provided below.

Transitional arrangements will continue to apply to activities under Part 5 of the EP&A Act, major projects and mining projects as outlined in the BC (S&T) Regulation.

Former planning provisions continue to apply

  • New applications for development consent or modifications to an approved development under Part 4 of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) (not including State Significant Development) will continue to be assessed under former planning provisions until 25 February 2018 in most local government areas.
  • In the seven local government areas identified as Interim Designated Areas – Camden, City of Campbelltown, City of Fairfield, City of Hawkesbury, City of Liverpool, City of Penrith and Wollondilly – new applications for development consent, or modifications to an approved development, under Part 4 of the EP&A Act will continue to be assessed under the former planning provisions until 25 August 2018.”
  • The Minister for the Environment will have until 25 February 2018 to declare additional Interim Designated Areas.
  • An amendment to the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation (Savings and Transitional) 2017 (BC (S&T) Regulation) is proposed to give effect to the intended policy that biodiversity impacts are only offset once.  OEH will keep stakeholders informed of the timing of this amendment.

Land Clearing Laws Overturned in the NSW Land and Environment Court


The NSW Land and Environment Court on Friday declared the government’s Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code 2017 to be “invalid and of no effect”.  The Court order means that any clearing that has been done under the invalid code since August 25, 2018 is actually unlawful,” the Environmental Defenders Office NSW said in a statement. Documents filed with the court in November 2017 by the NSW Nature Conservation Council argued Gabrielle Upton, the state’s environment minister, “failed to adequately consider the principles of ecologically sustainable development” as required by law when making the codes.

Secondly, it argued Niall Blair, primary industries minister, failed to obtain agreement from Ms Upton before making the laws.

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/bungled-nsw-new-land-clearing-laws-deemed-invalid-by-court-20180309-p4z3lf.html

What is a Flora and Fauna Report or Ecological Assessment Report ?

As Ecologists (Ecological Consultants) based in Sydney and servicing our clients throughout New South Wales, we are often asked by our clients what is an Ecological Assessment Report ? (Flora and Fauna Report, Ecological Assessment, 5 Part Test of Significance, Biodiversity Development Assessment Report) ?.  Basically, these are reports which a government authority (often a council) requests to provide information relating to the fauna and flora habitat values on a property along with the potential impacts from an activity such as a land development.  At Anderson Environmental Pty Ltd we are qualified and experienced ecologists with experience undertaking Flora and Fauna Assessments and Ecological Assessments since 1992 and these have been undertaken for almost every purpose imaginable including: residential and rural residential subdivisions, powerline construction, water pipelines, mapping of threatened flora and fauna habitats, water catchment biodiversity surveys, mining impact assessment, land re-zonings and for bushland management.  These ecological reports have many names including;

  • Flora and Fauna Assessment Report (7 Part Test of Significance – now the 5 Part Test of Significance)
  • Flora and Fauna Report
  • Ecological Assessment Report
  • Biodiversity Assessment Report
  • Bushland Assessment Report
  • Ecological Impact Assessment
  • Flora and Fauna Impact Assessment

With the recent change in legislation however with the implementation of the Biodiversity Conservation Act (BC Act 2016) and the Biobanking Assessment Methodology (BAM) the reports are now titled:

  • Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR) – these are undertaken to assess the impacts of a development on a development site. They assess the ecological values and provide a credit calculation of how many offset credits are required (if applicable).
  • Biodiversity Stewardship Assessment Report (BSAR) – these are undertaken to assess the values of a site, often a site which is to be proposed to be used as an offset. They calculate the credits for species and ecosystems on the site.  These were formerly call Biobanking Sites.
  • Biodiversity Certification Assessment Reports (BCAR) – these are often undertaken for strategic assessments of lands and changes in land use.

We are fully qualified and accredited Biobanking Assessment Method Assessors (BAM Assessors) accredited and licensed by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (NSW).  We are qualified to undertake Biodiversity Development Assessment Reports (BDAR), Biodiversity Stewardship Assessment Reports (BSAR) and Biodiversity Certification Assessment Reports (BCAR).

For more information please visit the link below or feel free to give us a call on 1300 302 507 or contact us through our contact page of our website – www.andenviro.com.au