National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999
The National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 (the ASC NEPM) is the national guidance document for the assessment of site contamination in Australia.
The purpose of the ASC NEPM is to establish a nationally consistent approach for the assessment of site contamination to ensure sound environmental management practices are adopted by the community, including regulators, site assessors, site contamination consultants, auditors, landowners, developers and industry parties.
The desired outcome of the ASC NEPM is to provide adequate protection of human health and the environment, where contamination has occurred, through the development of an efficient and effective national approach to environmental site assessment.
The ASC NEPM contains the following Schedules:
Schedule A: a flow chart that outlines the recommended process for the assessment of site contamination; and
Schedule B: that provides guidelines for the assessment of site contamination.
- B1: Guideline on investigation levels for soil & groundwater
- B2: Guideline on site characterisation
- B3: Guideline on laboratory analysis of potentially contaminated soils
- B4: Guideline on site-specific health risk assessments
- B5a: Guideline on ecological risk assessments
- B5b: Guideline on methodology to derive EILs
- B5c: Guideline on soil quality guidelines
- B6: Guideline on risk based assessment on groundwater contamination
- B7: Guideline on health-based investigation levels (plus appendices: B7a1, B7a2, B7a3, B7a4, B7a5, B7b, B7c)
- B8: Guideline on community engagement & risk communication
- B9: Guideline on competencies & acceptance of environmental auditors
The ASC NEPM and schedules are available for download through the National Environment Protection Council (NEPC) website. The ASC NEPM Toolbox contains additional information including calculators, spreadsheets and other supporting documents to assist with application of the amended ASC NEPM.
About the ASC NEPM
The National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 (the ASC NEPM) is made under the National Environment Protection Council Act 1994 (Cth) and is given effect by individual legislation and guidelines in each state and territory.
The ASC NEPM was made on 22 December 1999. In 2005-2006, a review of the ASC NEPM was initiated. A draft ASC NEPM and consultation impact statement were released for public consultation in 2010. On 11 April 2013, the National Environment Protection Council (NEPC) agreed to vary the NEPM by approving an amending instrument to the ASC NEPM.
The amendment of the ASC NEPM took effect in each jurisdiction on 16 May 2013, the day after it was registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments (FRLI). The amendment included repealing all the original schedules to the ASC NEPM and the substitution of new schedules.
Application of the ASC NEPM within South Australia
Implementation of the National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 (the ASC NEPM) is the responsibility of each jurisdiction.
At the time the ASC NEPM was amended in 2013, its implementation was subject to a 12-month transition period and ended on 16 May 2014. Guidance on the implementation of the amended ASC NEPM within South Australia was developed by the EPA for the transition period and published as an information sheet (dated June 2013).
As the transition period ended in May 2014, the original ASC NEPM is no longer to be applied.
The EPA advises that all assessments of site contamination are expected to be in accordance with the amended ASC NEPM.
In order to align with the publication of revised site contamination guidelines and associated interim guidance, any site contamination assessments or audits still being carried out under the original ASC NEPM after 31 March 2016 without the prior written agreement of the EPA, will not be accepted.
A framework on how to apply the amended ASC NEPM in the context of current EPA guidance has also been developed by the EPA.
If you have any questions regarding the ameded ASC NEPM or its implementation in SA contact the Site Contamination Branch on 8204 9934.