Victoria Unearthed is a tool that brings together existing information about potential land and groundwater contamination, historical business listings, and more.

Victoria Unearthed is not a definitive source of information about current contamination, but can be a useful starting point for people wanting to find out more about a piece of land or area.

This first release includes information from a range of existing government sources - including the Victorian Landfill Register, Environmental Audit Overlay, EPA Environmental Audits, and Groundwater Quality Restricted Use Zones.

It also includes Historical Business Listings - some information from Victoria's Sands & McDougall business directories (old 'phone books') from 1896, 1925 and 1974, which until recently were held at State Library Victoria in hard copy only.

For this first release, Victoria Unearthed helps you to make enquiries about the history and state of your land, with more information being added in the future. When you access the Victoria Unearthed map, you can search an address or area to find out more.

How to use Victoria Unearthed

Who is it for?

Victoria Unearthed has been created to provide helpful information to anyone in the community who is interested in finding out about more about historical business listings and potential land and groundwater contamination.

Why was it created?

Victoria Unearthed has been created in response to Recommendation 14.1 of the Independent Inquiry into the EPA.

In its Response to the Independent Inquiry, the Victorian Government committed to improving access to information to strengthen management of risks associated with legacy contamination.

In particular, the government committed to developing a public database providing consistent, easily accessible state-wide historical information to assist with identification of potentially contaminated sites.

Who's involved?

Victoria Unearthed is a joint project led by the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DELWP) together with the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

The Victoria Unearthed team has also worked with the State Library Victoria, who digitised the Sands & McDougall directories on behalf of DELWP.

Regulation of contaminated land

Victoria already has strong planning controls, a robust environmental audit system and a long history of managing contaminated sites. EPA Environmental Audits and Environmental Audit Overlays are included in Victoria Unearthed.

Regulation of contaminated land in Victoria

Disclaimer

Read our disclaimer here

It depends on the source of information. There are five different datasets in Victoria Unearthed and the information in them is different.

For example, Historical Business Listings information can help you understand more about businesses that were located at a particular place, at a point in time. These listings are not evidence of contamination.

Another example is where an EPA Environmental Audit shows up on your address. In this case, you may be able to open a link to more information that outlines why your address was audited and if any clean-up (remediation) works were required to accommodate particular land uses. This is just an example and information in different audits varies.

How to use Victoria Unearthed

About the datasets

Victoria Unearthed will continue to be developed with additional information and datasets. We welcome any feedback that will support this development at victoria.unearthed@delwp.vic.gov.au.

The presence of contamination does not always mean there is a risk to health. Many factors need to be considered to understand if there is a risk to health, such as how the land is used, the nature of the contamination, whether people are exposed, how much they are exposed to and for how long.

It is important to remember that the Historical Business Listings information from the Sands & McDougall directories (old 'phone books') do not show actual evidence of contamination – they are simply business listings and do not provide evidence of actual land use.

Furthermore, Victoria Unearthed is a not an exhaustive source of information about current contamination. It is a tool that helps you find out more about land, groundwater, historical business listings and potential contamination. This data, mostly from the EPA, is already publicly available, but now made easier for people to access in one place at one time.

If you have any concerns that you think may be related to potential contamination, you may wish to:

  1. Get further information via EPA and other sources, such as State Library of Victoria, historical aerial photos, local historical societies, historic land titles, council rates records, Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works plans and the Victorian Heritage Database.
  2. Consider speaking with an experienced environmental consultant.  The EPA website provides detailed information on engaging environmental consultants https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/business-and-industry/guidelines/engaging-consultants.
  3. Consult your doctor if you have any health concerns.

Find out more via the links below.

Health and contamination

Property and contamination

The Victorian community has a vital role in helping to protect the environment and you can report pollution via the below link.

EPA: Report pollution

EPA provides guidelines for reporting pollution, and information for business and industry about complying with the requirements of relevant legislation.

Regulation

EPA: Contaminated site management

Page last updated: 14/03/19