Engineers Australia

The contaminated land industry in Melbourne

Jonathan M. Medd, Roger J. Parker and Christian J. Wallis


Since the publication in Geology of Melbourne (Withers & Lane 1992) there have been significant changes in the assessment, remediation and management of contaminated land in Victoria. These changes have resulted in greater public interest in contaminated land issues, increased regulatory control and, perhaps most importantly, improved technical capability of the contaminated land industry. Specific regulation has also developed around the management of acid sulfate soils.

The purpose of this paper is to outline some of the key changes in the geo-environmental industry since 1992 from a regulatory and technical perspective. Much of these changes have come from significant changes in policy over this period which have been developed in parallel with a growing awareness of the issues presented by natural and anthropogenic contamination of the environment and an increasing awareness of need to protect our environmental resources such as ecosystems, land, surface water, groundwater and the air.

Brumund (1994) in his paper to the First International Congress on Environmental Geotechnics in Edmonton stated:

“Some markets served by civil engineers are relatively independent of regulations, some are influenced by
regulations, and some markets are largely created by and driven by regulations. The field of environmental
geotechnics falls largely in this last category”.

The last decade of practice in environmental geotechnics in Victoria has seen the development of extensive policy, regulation and guidelines, to the point where the practice in Victoria is predominantly a regulatory driven industry.