Priority sites

The Priority Sites Register (PSR), maintained by EPA and publicly available since 1998, is a listing of all sites for which EPA has formalised requirements to manage contamination.

The priority sites layer of Victoria Unearthed provides information about all current/active priority sites, drawn from EPA’s PSR. Once a site has complied with notices it is removed from the PSR and Victoria Unearthed.

Priority sites appear on the Victoria Unearthed map as red dots or red outlined shapes with horizontal 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 a priority site and the dots are GPS coordinates.

The PSR is updated monthly and the information on it may not be accurate, current or complete and may be subject to change without notice. For more information, contact EPA.

For more information on the Priority Sites Register visit the EPA website.

A priority site is a site for which EPA has issued a clean-up notice pursuant to section 62A or a pollution abatement notice pursuant to section 31A or 31B (relevant to land and/or groundwater) of the Environment Protection Act 1970. Typically, these are sites where contamination of land and/or groundwater presents an unacceptable risk to human health or to the environment.

The condition of these sites is not compatible with the current or approved use of the site without active management to reduce the risk to human health and the environment. Such management can include clean-up, monitoring and/or institutional controls.

EPA maintains the Priority Sites Register as a listing of all current priority sites. The register is available to the public.

EPA has a key responsibility in protecting beneficial uses of land. Many of these uses are regulated or controlled through of measures to prevent contamination of land and groundwater. Land contaminated by former waste disposal, industry and similar activities is frequently discovered during changes to land use — for example, from industrial to residential use. In most cases these can be managed at the time that the change of land use occurs. Some sites however, present a potential risk to human health or to the environment and must be dealt with as a priority. In such instances, EPA will issue a clean-up notice or a pollution abatement notice, meaning the site is typically subject to clean-up and/or management under EPA directions. Such sites are referred to as priority sites.

The PSR is a list of sites that have been issued with a clean-up notice or a pollution abatement notice. It is not a listing of all contaminated sites in Victoria, nor is it a list of all contaminated sites of which EPA has knowledge.

The PSR does not list sites managed by voluntary agreements or sites subject to management by planning controls (for example sites managed in accordance with section 173 agreement under the Planning and Environment Act 1987). Land purchasers should be aware of these limitations and make their own enquiries.

A site is listed on the PSR when EPA issues a clean-up notice or a pollution abatement notice relevant to land and/or groundwater. A notice is a means by which EPA formalises requirements to manage pollution.

Notice conditions will often include a requirement that an environmental auditor, who is appointed under Part 1XD, section 53S(1) of the Environment Protection Act 1970, issues a certificate or statement of environmental audit for the site in accordance with Part 1XD of the Act.

Note: Notices are issued after a period of investigation of the site.

It may then take up to two months for a site to appear on the PSR due to processing time.

Sites are removed from the PSR once all conditions of a notice have been complied with. This is formalised through a notice of revocation pursuant to section 60B of the Act.

Note: it may then take up to two months for a site to be removed from the PSR due to processing time.

The following information is currently publicly available on Victoria Unearthed:

  • municipality
  • suburb
  • address
  • description of the issue and management required
  • notice number
  • notice type (Clean up notice, or type of Pollution Abatement Notice).

Further details of notices are not publicly available at this time.

If your property is on the PSR it means the site has been issued with a Clean Up Notice or a Pollution Abatement Notice by EPA, which in turn means there are formal requirements for managing pollution on the site.

Typically, if a site is on the register it indicates that contamination of land and/or groundwater presents an unacceptable risk to human health or to the environment. The condition of the site is not compatible with the current or approved use of the site without active management to reduce the risk to human health and the environment. Such management can include clean-up, monitoring and/or institutional controls.

If your site is listed on the Priority Site Register and you require more information, please contact EPA.

  • On Victoria Unearthed

Priority sites appear as red dots and shapes on Victoria Unearthed. If the layer isn’t showing, turn on the Priority Sites layer by clicking the “EPA Data” button on the toolbar. Alternatively, click on ‘Layers’ and select the ‘EPA Priority Sites’ layers. Click the Identify button and click on a red dot or shape on the map to view results in the left sidebar (address, suburb, and issue present at the site). On the EPA website:

  • Navigate to the PSR page and download PDF document.

psr

In case of queries or technical difficulties, contact EPA.

If a property is on the PSR it means there are formal requirements for managing pollution on the site. Such management can include clean-up, monitoring and/or institutional controls. Conditions will often include a requirement that an environmental auditor, who is appointed under Part 1XD, section 53S(1) of the Environment Protection Act 1970, issues a certificate or statement of environmental audit for the site in accordance with Part 1XD of the Act. Sites are removed from the PSR once all the conditions of the notice have been complied with.

Note: it may take up to two months for a site to be removed from the PSR due to processing time.

When buying or selling a property, conveyancers and lawyers undertake a range of due diligence checks to help inform both buyers and vendors.

If a property has an active Clean-up Notice or a Pollution Abatement Notice, then the conditions of the notice are still applicable and the vendor is legally obligated to pass on all relevant information to prospective buyers.

When planning to renovate, sub-divide or change the use of land, the presence of potential contamination may require the owner of a property to undertake additional activities.

The PSR does not list sites managed by voluntary agreements or sites subject to management by planning controls (for example sites managed in accordance with section 173 agreement under the Planning and Environment Act 1987). Land purchasers should be aware of these limitations and make their own enquiries.

For more information, visit the Property & Contamination page of Victoria Unearthed.

Page last updated: 03/09/19