Your land may have once been used for other purposes such as industrial or farming activities. This could mean the land is contaminated.

Under Victoria’s new environment protection laws, you have a duty to:

  • manage contamination
  • notify EPA of significant contamination.

Checking Victoria Unearthed is a good place to begin. It’s an online tool which gives access to more information about potential and existing contaminated land.

If you occupy or control land, you have a duty to manage and minimise contamination from all activities, whether or not you caused the contamination. This could mean:

  • notifying EPA as soon as you discover contamination
  • minimising risks
  • cleaning up or controlling contamination
  • taking simple precautions to prevent access to contaminated land.

Example

Jane rents a house and wants to grow a garden in her backyard. There are no visible signs of contamination or odours, but her landlord says the site was once a factory. It's possible there is some level of contamination from this activity. Jane wants to grow vegetables to eat, so she follows advice from EPA. She makes sure she raises the garden beds and uses clean soil from offsite. 

Duty to notify EPA of contamination 

Where significant contamination is present at a site that you occupy or are in control of, the new laws require you to notify EPA. This helps us to improve our information, increase public awareness and work to protect human health and the environment.

EPA is working with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to define what level of contamination needs to be reported to EPA. 

Learn more about Victoria's new environmental laws. 

Read more about reducing harm from pollution and waste

Dealing with pollution incidents

Managing waste

Environment reference standards

Your duty to reasonably prevent harm

Reviewed 28 October 2019