The duty to notify of contaminated land applies to you if you are in management or control of land and should reasonably have been aware of notifiable contamination of the land.
The duty to manage is the primary contaminated land duty. Under the duty to manage, you must reduce the risks of harm so far as reasonably practicable.
You may also have a duty to notify EPA about the contamination. Some contamination is 'notifiable contamination'. Environmental experts can help you to understand if you need to notify EPA. You can authorise them to complete a notification on your behalf.
The Environment Protection Regulations (the Regulations) define notifiable contamination. It includes contamination that is above a certain threshold and is either:
- exposing a person to those contaminants, or
- moving, has moved or is likely to move off your land.
Section 40 of the Environment Protection Act requires you to notify EPA if your land has notifiable contamination.
Notification helps EPA understand the extent of land and groundwater contamination in Victoria. It also helps EPA respond strategically to contaminated land issues.
First focus on the duty to manage, and read the guideline EPA has produced to help you meet this duty.
You may find through meeting your duty to manage contaminated land that you have notifiable contamination. EPA has released a guideline to assist you in both understanding if you have a duty to notify of contaminated land, and to meet your duty.
If the contamination means there is imminent risk, tell EPA right away through the pollution hotline. This is separate to the duty to notify of contaminated land.
If you don't notify EPA about notifiable contamination as soon as practicable, you may have committed an offence. When deciding what enforcement action to take, EPA will consider:
- your skills, knowledge and experience
- whether you could practicably have sought advice
- the circumstances of the contamination.
Guide to the duty to notify of contaminated land (Publication 2008.2)
Reviewed 10 March 2023