The environmental audit system in Victoria is used by planning and local authorities, government agencies, landowners and other stakeholders to provide assurance that a potentially contaminated site is suitable for use. A statutory environmental audit is triggered when land proposed for new use is potentially contaminated or is already covered by an environmental audit overlay (EAO) within a planning scheme. A statutory environmental audit may also be required by local government to satisfy a planning permit, typically in the case where a site has proposed to be rezoned to a more sensitive land use (ie; construction of residential buildings on former industrial land) or undertaken voluntarily to satisfy commercial due-diligence requirements.
53X Environmental Audits
Generally, a 53X audit is required when land proposed for new use is potentially contaminated or already covered by an environmental audit overlay (EAO) within a planning scheme.
- Certificate of Environmental Audit is issued for a property where, following an audit, an environmental auditor believes the environmental condition of the land is suitable for any beneficial use.
- Statement of Environmental Audit is issued where, following an audit, an environmental auditor believes the land isn’t suitable for all possible beneficial uses, but is suitable for specific uses or developments. It may contain conditions for clean-up or management of contamination. If the land use changes for a property which has been issued an environmental audit, a new audit may be needed.
53V Environmental Audits
A 53V (‘risk of harm’) audit is most commonly used by EPA to understand the risk to the environment posed by an industrial activity or to validate that cleanup of contaminated land or groundwater has occurred. The 53V audit assesses the risk of any possible harm to a site caused by an industrial process or activity, waste substance or noise. This includes audits associated with the construction and operation of landfills.
A 53V audit can be used to demonstrate compliance with an EPA licence or to assess the remaining contamination on a site to support the scope of a cleanup plan. A 53V audit can be required by a planning authority (local government) when there is a planning permit application relating to a site located in a landfill buffer zone.
Environmental Site Management Plans
Site management plans are used to ensure adequate environmental management procedures are followed in the presence of contamination of soil and groundwater during construction works and ongoing future use.
Construction Stage Soil Management Plan
A Construction Stage Soil Management Plan (CSSMP) is a very important aspect of appropriately managing contaminated soil during the construction stage. A.S.James can assist with tailoring a site specific CSSMP to help establish appropriate control measures and processes to adequately manage contaminated soils safely and in accordance with state and national environmental legislation.
Environmental Soil Management Plan
An Environmental Soil Management Plan (ESMP) is required when there is a need for ongoing management of soil contamination on a site (ie; when it is environmentally appropriate, cost effective and acceptable to all relevant stakeholders involved to retain and manage soil contamination on-site). The ESMP includes details relating to implementation and management of control measures (ie; use of permanent barriers, capping layers or other remedial measures) required to minimise potential exposure of future site users and maintenance workers.
Groundwater Management Plan
A Groundwater Management Plan (GMP) is required when groundwater underlying the site has been polluted. The GMP will involve monitoring of groundwater characteristics and quality, and is usually required to determine the ongoing effectiveness of groundwater remedial activities, to confirm groundwater quality and detail contingency measures to be implemented in the event that action trigger levels are exceeded.