Department of Health

Key messages

  • Contaminated land is often a result of poor awareness in the past about protecting our environment.
  • Contaminated land is not automatically a health risk – it depends on the levels of the contaminants in the soil.
  • Councils need to manage contaminated land consistently, effectively and transparently. Managing risks associated with land contamination: guidance for councils helps councils do this.

Contaminated land is often a byproduct of our industrial past – at a time when our awareness about protecting the environment was much lower than it is now.

When soil contains elevated levels of metals or other substances, it does not automatically mean that a human health risk exists. However, there is increased public awareness of the potential for soil contamination, especially in areas where children spend time or play.

Councils need to manage contaminated land consistently, effectively and transparently. To do this, they should develop policies and procedures specific to their municipality to deal with potentially contaminated sites. Careful planning and early community engagement are essential.

Since 2016 EPA Victoria has been responsible for the past, present and potential future impacts on public health from pollution and waste. This includes contaminated land. 

The Guidance Managing Risks Associated with Land Contamination (2006) does not reflect this change. For information on managing contaminated land, as well as contaminated land and your health, refer to EPA Victoria or email: contact@epa.vic.gov.au or phone 1300 372 842

For more information on how land contamination is managed in Victoria, visit EPA Victoria

Managing risks associated with land contamination: guidance for councils provides the tools to assist local councils in developing a policy and procedure for effectively managing contaminated sites.

Reviewed 05 December 2022

Health.vic

Contact details

Environmental Health Policy and Risk Management Unit

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