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Land contamination


Auburn City Council is required by legislation to consider whether land is contaminated.

During the Development Application process, applicants are required to provide information about known and potential contamination on development sites. 

The applicant must address issues such as:

  • previous and current land uses and activities of the site and adjoining sites
  • any known contamination of the land
  • details of any contamination investigation reports or remediation works that have occurred on the land

State Government Legislative Requirements

The State government legislative requirements are provided through State Environmental Planning Policy No. 55 Remediation of Land and The Contaminated Land Management Act 1997.

The Contaminated Land Management Act, 1997 enables the Department of Environment and Conservation (Environment Protection Authority) to respond to contamination that is causing significant risk of harm to human health or the environment and sets out criteria for determining whether such risk exists.

Contaminated Land Information on Section 149 Planning Certificates

Auburn City Council is legally required under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 and the Contaminated Land Management Act, 1997 to note on Section 149 (2) Planning Certificates whether the land which the Certificate applies is:
  • within land declared to be an investigation area or remediation site
  • subject to an investigation order or a remediation order
  • the subject of a voluntary investigation proposal (or a voluntary remediation proposal) the subject of the Environment Protection Authority’s agreement
  • subject to a site audit statement.

Acid Sulfate Soils

Acid Sulfate Soils are natural soils and sediments that contain iron sulfide. When the sulfide is exposed to air, such as after drainage and excavation, the soils form sulfuric acid.  This acid can leach into the surrounding area and acidify surrounding drains, wetlands, creeks, estuaries and bays, causing severe environmental damage.
Acid sulfate soils can impact on public and private infrastructure by causing serious damage to steel and concrete structures such as the foundations (footings) of a building. It can also corrode drinking water pipes and have negative effects on humans and animals from consumption of polluted water.

The former Department of Land and Water Conservation has mapped areas in NSW that contain acid sulfate soils. The maps are referred to as the Acid Sulfate Soil Risk Maps. First published in 1995 and updated in 1997, they cover the entire NSW coastline and have been adapted for planning purposes.

The Acid Sulfate Soils Risk Maps for the Auburn Local Government Area shows the location of possible acid sulfate soils in the Auburn Local Government Area.  Please ask for these maps if you are thinking of building in an area that might be affected by acid sulfate soils. These maps can also be viewed on the website of the Office of Environment and Heritage.