The National Environment Protection Council
(NEPC) has released the draft National Environment
Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure
(Draft NEPM) for public consultation. The NEPC
recognises that the assessment of site contamination and
contaminated land management are areas where scientific and
technical capabilities are constantly improving. The original NEPM
has been varied to incorporate these developments.
The major changes included in the Draft NEPM are:
new and improved methodologies for deriving ecological
investigation levels and health investigation levels
incorporation of health screening levels and ecological
screening levels for petroleum hydrocarbons
incorporation of guidance for assessing the impacts of
incorporation of guidance on stockpile sampling, contaminant
leachability and bioavailability; and
incorporation of guidance for assessment of volatile
The Schedules to the Draft NEPM that have undergone the most
significant changes are discussed below.
Schedule B1 - guideline on investigation levels for soil and
Schedule B1 has been substantially expanded in the Draft NEPM in
order to address concerns that investigation levels were being
adopted as remediation levels. From the 2004 Review, the NEPM
Review Team identified that greater detail was needed to ensure
that investigation levels were understood to be baseline levels
from which remediation levels were ultimately determined. The
new Schedule B1 includes:
new health screening levels and ecological screening levels for
petroleum hydrocarbon including four levels of carbon chain
fractions for total petroleum hydrocarbon assessment
screening levels for asbestos in soil for various land uses,
including commercial and industrial; and
groundwater investigation levels that include more chemicals,
such as ammonia, chlorine and ethanol, and new pesticides.
Schedule B2 - Guideline on site characterisation
Schedule B2 provides guidelines for the design and
implementation of soil, groundwater and vapour sampling to assist
with site characterisation. The Draft NEPM has significantly
expanded Schedule B2 to include:
more material on vapour and soil gas investigations including
the assessment of vapour intrusion and the sampling of soil
further information on groundwater investigation including
monitoring well construction
additional guidance on asbestos contamination in soil; and
improved methods to protect the environment during site
Schedule B4 - Guideline on site-specific health risk
Schedule B4 provides guidance on the assessment of the severity
of risk to human health from contaminated sites. The amendments to
Schedule B4 include:
additional information on risk assessment and data
toxicity assessment to incorporate dose response assessment
with updated toxicity reference values based on best available
guidance on risk communication.
If you would like to comment on the Draft NEPM, the NEPC must
receive written submissions by close of business 26
How can DLA Phillips Fox help you?
DLA Phillips Fox can provide advice on the implications of the
changes to the NEPM for your legal obligations and remediation
projects and can assist you in formulating submissions if you would
like to comment on the Draft NEPM.
DLA Phillips Fox is one of the largest legal firms in
Australasia and a member of DLA Piper Group, an alliance of
independent legal practices. It is a separate and distinct legal
entity. For more information visit
This publication is intended as a first point of reference and
should not be relied on as a substitute for professional advice.
Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to any
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