EPA Environmental Audits are environmental audits conducted in accordance with the Environment Protection Act 1970.

EPA Environmental Audits most commonly take place when land is proposed for new use and is potentially contaminated, or if it is already covered by an Environmental Audit Overlay.

EPA Environmental Audits are generally requested by local councils, landowners or planning authorities, and are undertaken by EPA-appointed environmental auditors, who assess the suitability of a site for the proposed use, and provide a certificate or statement of audit.

Depending on the type of audit report, it may outline if contamination actually exists, provide an assessment of the risk of harm from a particular activity, and list actions to manage or clean up the site.

Since the system began in 1990, more than 3000 EPA Environmental Audits have taken place in Victoria.

The location of EPA Environmental Audits is included in Victoria Unearthed as they can help people understand more about potential contamination across the state.

When you use the Identify tool to click on an EPA Environmental Audit dot or shape, you may be able to access the audit report for that site, which provides more detail about the site history, the contamination status at a point in time, and the clean up or management activities required for the site to be suitable for the current or proposed use. If there is no audit report available, you can request this by contacting EPA.

EPA Environmental Audit information in Victoria Unearthed is managed by EPA and is updated on an ongoing basis. The Environmental Audit data layer is available for download from EPA at https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/our-work/environmental-auditing/environmental-audit-reports-online.

Environmental auditing

If an EPA Environmental Audit shows on the Victoria Unearthed map for your property, it means the site has had a completed environmental audit.

There are many reasons for an environmental audit, including when a former industrial site is to be redeveloped for a residential use and an audit is required by local government. It does not mean contamination was present, but that an investigation was undertaken.

In Victoria Unearthed, when you the Identify tool to click on an EPA Environmental Audit dot or shape, you may be able to access the audit report for that site, which provides more detail about the site history, the contamination status at a point in time, and the clean up or management activities required for the site to be suitable for the current or proposed use. However, please note that the existence of an environmental audit report does not guarantee that any or all of the conditions suggested in that audit have been implemented.

If there is no audit report available, you can request this by contacting EPA.

If you think EPA Environmental Audit information for your property is inaccurate, please contact EPA.

Environmental Auditing Q&As

EPA Environmental Audits appear on the Victoria Unearthed map as orange dots or orange outlined shapes with diagonal lines. The shapes may only be visible when you zoom in on the map to a scale of 1:250,000 or less. Shapes show a site boundary or area covered by an EPA Environmental Audit and the dots are GPS coordinates.

In Victoria Unearthed, check you have the EPA Environmental Audits dataset (layer) on. You can turn it on via a button in the top toolbar of the map.

Click the Identify button on the top toolbar, then click on an orange dot or shape on the map, and more information including audit reports linked to that location will appear in the left sidebar results panel. You can also right-click on the map at any time and select “Find data on the map”.

Since the environmental audit system began in Victoria in 1990, EPA has maintained a list of properties with a completed environmental audit.

However, not all audit reports may be visible at any given time, and not every type of EPA Environmental Audit has been included in Victoria Unearthed. There are a range of factors for some reports not being visible, including, for example, Commercial-in-Confidence.

Please contact EPA if an audit report you are looking for is not visible.

Environmental audit reports online

Generally, a 53X (‘condition of the environment’) environmental audit is required when land proposed for new use is potentially contaminated or already covered by an Environmental Audit Overlay.

A 53X audit verifies that potentially contaminated land may be used for a specific use (industrial, commercial or residential). From a 53X audit comes either a certificate or statement of environmental audit.

A certificate of environmental audit indicates that the land is suitable for any use within the land use zoning – there are no restrictions on the use of the site due to its environmental condition.

A statement of environmental audit indicates the site is not suitable for any use; or suitable for a nominated use, subject to conditions and/or limitations in its use (local government is responsible for enforcing these conditions). Once a statement is issued, the site owner or occupier must use the site in a manner consistent with the issues outlined in the statement.

A 53V (‘risk of harm’) audit is most commonly used by EPA to understand the risk to the environment posed by an industrial activity, or to validate that cleanup of contaminated land or groundwater has occurred.

Types of Environmental Audits

An Environmental Audit Overlay (EAO) signals that a particular site would require an environmental audit prior to that land being used for a more ‘sensitive use’, such as developing housing, building a primary school or an early childhood centre.

An EPA Environmental Audit identifies a site where an environmental audit has been completed.

Both EAO and EPA Environmental Audit information have been included in Victoria Unearthed because they can help Victorians identify sites of known or potential contamination, and may also provide some information about recommended or actual clean-up activities.

An EAO is a planning overlay and is not managed by EPA.

The EPA appoints environmental auditors under three categories: contaminated land, industrial facilities and natural resources.

List of environmental auditors

Ministerial Direction No.1 – Potentially Contaminated Land requires planning authorities, when preparing planning scheme amendments, to satisfy themselves that the environmental conditions of land proposed to be used for a sensitive use (defined as residential, a childcare centre, preschool centre or primary school) will be suitable for that use.

For example, if land is proposed for a childcare centre and it is potentially contaminated, the planning authority (local council) must ensure the land is suitable for use through an environmental audit.

EPA’s role in the environmental audit system

The EPA website lists environmental audits regarding to land, groundwater, noise, odour, air quality, infrastructure, environmental management plans and others. Victoria Unearthed is primarily a resource for understanding potential land and groundwater contamination and therefore shows only a subset of audits from the EPA website — i.e. those related to land and groundwater contamination.

Environmental audits

Page last updated: 28/08/19