When commissioning an environmental report it is important that your consultant is able to meet all the regulatory requirements related to environmental assessments and reports. The EPA and local councils rely on environmental reports to make appropriate planning and development decisions in order to protect the human health and the environment from land contamination.
To make sure all the required information is included in environmental reports, the EPA has circulated guidelines which define what must be included in Phase 1 and Phase 2 site assessments reports as well as the reports prepared for remediation and validation projects.
Phase 1 Report Requirements
The requirements for environmental reports can be found in the NSW EPA’s Guidelines for Consultants Reporting on Contaminated Sites. According to the guidelines, a Phase 1 environmental site assessment report essentially needs to convey whether past or present activities could have potential to cause contamination.
The three main aspects of a Phase 1 environmental site assessment report are:
- a review of past and present activities conducted on or near the site to determine the potential for contamination) and the contaminants of concern;the condition of the site; and
- a preliminary assessment of site contamination and whether further investigation is required.
The guidelines emphasise the importance of obtaining a complete site history as this will provide the foundation for any future investigations.When not done thoroughly, many important site checks are missed and poor decisions may result in costly environmental or legal risks down the track. This is why you need to be skeptical of cheap quotes for a Phase 1 site assessment and seek the assistance of an experienced and qualified environmental consultant.
Phase 2 Report Requirements
A Phase 2 environmental site assessment report needs to cover off any issues raised in the Phase 1 report as well as provide more detailed consideration of any site contamination. In addition, the EPA’s reporting guidelines state that a phase 2 report must also provide comprehensive information on:
- Type and extent of contamination;
- Potential effect on groundwater, air, soil, surface water, and dust;
- Whether the contamination presents a danger to the environment, the structure of any buildings or public health (off-site impacts need to be included if relevant); and
- Completeness and adequacy of the information available for potential remediation decisions.
If the Phase 2 site assessment suggests that the proposed use for the land presents a significant risk to either the environment or public/human health, a remedial action plan will need to be developed and implemented.
If you plan to develop land and have been asked to provide an environmental report, or perhaps you just have questions/concerns regarding a contaminated site, please feel free to get in touch with Geo-Logix today by phone or email.