Contaminated land and groundwater have the potential to harm human health and the environment. The risks of harm can depend upon the location, type and how concentrated the contamination is. The exposure method, for example ingestion or inhalation, and the level of exposure are also important.

Victoria’s industrial and manufacturing past has resulted in contamination being present in some regional and metropolitan areas. Contamination is often present because of previously unregulated past or current industrial, intensive agricultural and commercial activities.

Poor historic working practices and a lack of knowledge about the harmful impact of contamination are often to blame. Contamination also comes from accidents and incidents involving chemicals.

If you manage or control land, where such activities or practices have taken place you may have contamination.

From 1 July 2021, you may need to comply with the contaminated land duties. These are the:

  • duty to manage risks of harm from contamination
  • duty to notify EPA of contamination in particular circumstances.

These duties apply regardless of who caused the contamination. They protect human health and the environment from harm and support EPA in addressing contamination.

You may already know of contamination on your land, or be assisting someone who does. To check if land falls within the definition of contaminated land, read Contaminated land: Understanding section 35 of the Environment Protection Act 2017 (publication 1940).

About contamination

Reviewed 12 February 2021