Site contamination index
Site contamination notifications and reports received by the EPA since 1 July 2009 under the Environment Protection Act 1993 are now available on our index for S83A notification, Audit notification, Audit termination, and Audit report.
You can search the index for notifications and reports that relate to your suburb or town. Specific information on each of these sites can then be obtained from the EPA.
You can make an appointment to view information or request a copy of information held on the register by contacting 8204 2004 or 1800 623 445 (freecall for country users), or email. Please quote the EPA notification number and suburb of the record you are interested. Requests for copies of documents listed on the website index will be met at no charge.
Frequently asked questions
What is a notification of actual or potential groundwater contamination under section 83A?
The owner or occupier of a site, site contamination consultant or site contamination auditor is required under section 83A of the Environment Protection Act 1993 to notify the EPA of the existence of site contamination at a site or in the vicinity of a site that affects or threatens groundwater. Each notification will be at varying stages of assessment and further investigation may be required to determine whether contamination exists and if so, the level of any risk it may present.
When any evidence is found which indicates there may be a risk to the public, affected communities are directly advised. Further details are available on the public communication statements. Check out information about current investigations that impact on communities.
What is an audit notification?
There are two types of audit notifications that are required to be provided to the EPA by a site contamination auditor:
- Notification after commencement of an audit
Site contamination auditors are required to notify the EPA in writing within 14 days after the commencement of a site contamination audit. The notification must include details of the person who commissioned the audit and the location to which the audit relates.
- Notification after termination (before completion) of an audit
Site contamination auditors are required to notify the EPA in writing within 14 days after the termination (before completion) of a site contamination audit. The notification must include details of the reasons for the termination.
What is an audit termination?
If an auditor is unable to proceed with or finalise an audit for any reason, they are required to notify the EPA of the termination of audit (before completion).
Possible reasons for termination can include when an auditor changes employers or if the party who commissioned the audit has inadequate funds to complete the audit. Another audit may then be required to be commissioned, depending on the reason for the audit and the condition of the site.
What is a site contamination audit?
A site contamination audit is a review, carried out by an accredited auditor, that:
- examines assessments or remediation carried out by another person of known or suspected site contamination on or below the surface of a site; and
- determines any one or more of the following matters:
- the nature and extent of any site contamination present or remaining on or below the surface of the site;
- the suitability of the site for a sensitive use or another use or range of uses;
- what remediation is or remains necessary for a specified use or range of uses.
For further information refer to the audit overview.
What is a site contamination audit report?
A site contamination audit report is a detailed report that sets out the findings and determinations of the audit, and is prepared and provided by an auditor according to legislative requirements and guidelines issued by the EPA.
In some cases, in order to support the audit outcome, the auditor may need to specify conditions in the audit report, which require implementation to adequately protect human health and the environment taking into account the current or proposed land use(s). For further information, refer to the information sheet Implementing conditions of a site contamination audit report (2010).
As far as practicable, audit reports are self-contained documents and may have several appendices which contain reports and drawings that have been relied upon by the auditor.
What is a site contamination audit statement?
A site contamination audit statement (audit statement) is a summary of the findings of the audit and is prepared by the site contamination auditor who personally carried out or directly supervised the audit.
The certified audit statement must be included in the audit report.
The audit statement can be relied upon and used separately from the audit report.
The audit statement is particularly intended to be relied upon by relevant planning authorities in addition to current and future owners/occupiers of the site, and any other interested persons.
What is the audit process?
The audit system is a key strategy for the management of site contamination in South Australia.
The audit system is intended to provide:
- adequate protection of human health and the environment where site contamination exists or may exist
- rigour, independence and objectivity in the assessment and remediation, including management, of site contamination
- a body of accredited expert persons whose opinions can be relied upon when making determinations in relation to site contamination, and
- greater certainty to the community, developers, industry, planning authorities and regulators that land is suitable for its intended use through the independent review by accredited experts of the assessment, remediation and management of site contamination.
The audit system also provides a critical link between the status of land, the suitability of land for its current or proposed use, and the planning process.
What is a site contamination auditor?
A site contamination auditor is a person accredited by the EPA to carry out an independent assessment of the condition of the audited site.
Auditors must comply with the relevant provisions of the Act and associated regulations and guidelines issued by the EPA. All auditors have a duty of care to the environment and to the health and safety of the people in South Australia above all others (including any duty to the person who has commissioned them to conduct the audit). The rigour of the audit system depends on the independence and integrity of the auditor. The Act provides significant penalties for offences and breaches of the specific requirements of the audit provisions.
What is the role of a site contamination auditor?
The primary role of the auditor is to complete (personally or by directly supervising) a site contamination audit report (and site contamination audit statement) for a commissioned audit. The auditor is expected to:
- review assessment, remediation or validation work carried out by others
- evaluate the adequacy and sufficiency of the available information, which may include site visits
- seek further information about the condition of the site if necessary
- use the auditor’s specialist team as appropriate
- provide and independent opinion on the assessment and/or remediation in respect of known or suspected site contamination on or below the surface of a site and subsequent determinations on any one or more of the following matters: the nature and extent of site contamination, suitability of the site for its intended use, what remediation is or remains necessary
- fulfill the requirements relevant to the audit requirement and purpose.
When is a site contamination audit required?
An audit may be carried out or required for one or more of the following reasons:
- to satisfy the requirements of orders or voluntary agreements under the Environment Protection Act 1993
- to satisfy the requirements of the planning process under the Development Act 1993
- for other purposes (ie not specifically required by legislation, such as due diligence).
How long does it take to complete an audit report?
The site contamination index on the website contains a list of audit notifications – each at various stages of the audit process. While a notification can exist for the commencement of an audit, it can take considerable time (sometimes several years) before the final audit report is completed. During this time an audit can commence, be terminated and/or another audit commenced before an audit report is completed.
Where can I find out more about the site contamination audit process?
Information on the audit system, including a series of information sheets, is available in the site contamination section. The information sheets cover an overview of the audit system, information about audit reports and audit statements, using a site contamination auditor and implementing conditions of a site contamination report.
About the notifications and reports on the Public Directory
What is the purpose of making an index of site contamination notifications and reports available online?
The EPA is progressively making the environmental information it holds more accessible to the public.
In April 2011, the EPA published an index of notifications relating to actual and potential groundwater contamination as the first step to upload environmental information that is held on the public register. The upload of post 1 July 2009 site contamination audit notifications and reports which form part of the EPA’s public register, progresses this work.
This makes it easier to find out what information is held by the EPA and facilitates more timely access to that information.
Can I gain access to site contamination information prior to 2009?
On 1 July 2009 the Environment Protection Act 1993 was updated to include specific provisions relating to site contamination. Site contamination audit notifications and reports relating to the new legislation are now listed on the web index. The EPA is also required to hold pre-1 July 2009 site audit reports on the public register. Although these documents are not listed on the index they are still available on request through the public register by contacting 8204 2004 or 1800 623 445 during business hours, or by email.
Why can’t I find my address on the index?
The suburb names and addresses displayed in the index are those that are provided to the EPA at the time of the audit notifications and reports. Suburb names and street addresses can change over time and are not reflected in this index.
This can occur if the site is located within a newly developed area that has been subdivided to contain new street names.
How can I gain access to copies of site contamination audit reports and audit notifications?
Contact 8204 2004 or 1800 623 445 during business hours, or email to discuss the information you are seeking and to make a request through the public register. Copies of documents listed on the index of the public register directory will be provided for free.
Do I need to check the currency of audit reports and audit statements?
Yes. Audit reports and audit statements are based on the condition of the site and the information reviewed in completing the audit report by the auditor. They do not represent any changes that may have occurred to the condition of the audit site since the date of completion of the audit.
Anyone relying on audit reports and audit statements is advised to check the currency and details of the documents. If unsure of the currency you should contact the EPA for advice. If necessary you should also contact the EPA to determine if the audit report and audit statements have been superseded by an amended and/or subsequent audit report.
If I have questions about a site contamination audit report or notification can I call someone at the EPA?
For more information about a site contamination audit, contact 8204 2004 or 1800 623 445 during business hours, or by email.
How regularly will the site contamination index on the website be updated?
The index will be updated on a monthly basis with the date of currency published above the search bar.