There are many causes of land and groundwater contamination and some can be linked to previous land use and industrial activity.

Knowing more about past business locations and environmental history can be a step leading to the identification of potentially contaminated land.

It’s important to professionally test for contamination where it is suspected.

Testing for contamination

In the Planning Practice Note, Potentially Contaminated land, June 2005, potential for contamination is categorised into low, medium and high as follows:

  • More than 50 different land uses, such as airports and sewage treatment plants, are listed as carrying high potential for contamination.
  • Some activities carried out on the land, may carry medium potential for contamination based on the type of activity or land use carried out - and the nature, quantity and location of products used or stored on the site. There are seven land uses listed for 'medium potential' in the practice note.
  • Where none of the identified uses or activities in the high and medium potential categories are known to have been carried out on the land, low potential for contamination may exist.

More than 50 different land uses, such as abattoirs and breweries, are listed in the Planning Practice Note, Potentially Contaminated land, June 2005 as carrying a high potential for contamination.

Medium potential for contamination can be identified by certain types of activities carried out on the land. Such activities might include chemical storage and waste disposal. The nature of the products used or stored, the quantity stored, and the location of use or storage should be considered. There are seven land uses listed for 'medium potential' in the practice note.

For more examples of these activities, see the General Practice Note, Potentially Contaminated land, June 2005

Landfills licensed to receive asbestos are included in the Victorian Landfill Register dataset in Victoria Unearthed.

Victoria Unearthed includes EPA Environmental Audit data. An environmental audit report linked to a location may include details about actual or potential contamination at that site. Some of these audits include information about asbestos.

To find out more about the safe disposal of asbestos, visit EPA website or www.asbestos.vic.gov.au.

Victoria Unearthed includes EPA Environmental Audit data. Some of these locations relate to former service stations. An environmental audit report linked to a location may include details about actual or potential contamination at that site.

Former service stations can be listed on EPA’s Priority Sites Register if they have a current remedial notice.

Victoria Unearthed includes EPA Environmental Audit data. Some of these environmental audits relate to information about lead. An environmental audit report linked to a location may include details about actual or potential contamination at that site.

More information about lead in house paint, including testing for lead-based paint, and safe removal of lead-based paint is available on the Australian Government Department of Environment and Energy website or Lead Alert booklet.

Health and contamination

Testing for contamination

Page last updated: 14/03/19