Land contaminationand your health

Outdoor air

Land contamination is when liquid or solid waste enters the land or groundwater. It is usually from industrial or commercial sites or landfills. Land contamination is generally a localised issue. Environmental audits are a way of making sure land is safe for use. EPA oversees this audit system.

Number of environmental audits done in Victoria

Source: EPA Victoria Note: 53X Audits completed between 2000 and 2018 under the EPA managed audit scheme. A 53X audit finds out if a site is suitable for industrial, commercial or residential use. These are the most common type of environmental audit.
Data chart displaying number of environmental audits done in Victoria.
Source: EPA Victoria Note: Measured by number of environmental audits year to assess suitability for proposed use

The effect of land contamination on your health

Swallowing contaminated soil or, drinking contaminated groundwater may affect your health. Young children can become exposed when playing outside particularly by putting dirty hands in their mouths.

If contamination from land gets into rivers, lakes or groundwater, it can move some distance and may even get into drinking water sources such as bore water. Bore water is water from natural storage underground.

Sometimes, certain chemicals in contaminated soil and groundwater can create gases that can enter buildings. This is called vapour intrusion. Breathing in these vapours can harm your health.

What you can do if you’re concerned about land contamination

Find out more

  1. Testing for contamination
  2. Groundwater pollution
  3. Contaminated land environmental auditing