As foreshadowed in our earlier article, the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has published new “Guidelines on the Duty to Report Contamination under the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997” (July 2015) (Reporting Guidelines). The Reporting Guidelines commenced on 3 July 2015 and replace the 2009 guidelines.

The key change in the Reporting Guidelines is the adoption of the standards contained in the National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999, which was amended in 2013 (NEPM). 

The Reporting Guidelines now contain a notification trigger for asbestos (adopting the NEPM health screening levels of friable asbestos in or on soil) and adopt the NEPM levels for substances in soils, groundwater and surface water, and for vapour intrusions (removing the previous references to levels set out in the EPA's Guidelines for Assessing Service Station Sites (1994)).

As some of the statutory reporting levels have changed, it is possible that sites which previously did not need to be reported under the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997 may now trigger the duty to report. It would be prudent for land owners, operators and prospective purchasers to review the Reporting Guidelines to determine whether the duty to report now applies, particularly given the significant penalties which may be imposed where there has been a failure to report. The Reporting Guidelines can be accessed here.