Environmental auditing of a site can be a protracted exercise involving soil and groundwater assessment, human health risk assessment, determination of “clean up to the extent practicable” of contaminated groundwater, and off-site testing.
A contaminated land audit may identify environmental contamination issues that require rectification or management. Complete and total clean up of contaminated land is not always required. A contaminated land audit may be completed on a site that contains some ‘residual contamination’, and the auditor has issued a ‘Statement of Environmental Audit’. Development on this land can then proceed, as long as the contamination is in keeping with acceptable land use.
The Statement of Environmental Audit may contain certain conditions, particularly if the site has been found to be a source site of contamination.
Sites having a completed Statement of Environmental Audit may require:
Ongoing Groundwater Quality Management Plan;
Soil Contamination Management Plan;
or Further soil/health-risk assessment requirements if disturbed.
If you are a property owner or land developer, the most important thing to understand about contaminated land is that land owners can be held responsible for the remediation of contamination on their land. For this reason, it’s essential to investigate a property’s contamination status prior to purchase, to avoid purchasing expensive environmental liabilities along with the land.