ENVIRONMENTAL DIVISION

A.S. James offers a wide range of environmental services to both the public & private sectors including environmental site assessments, groundwater & soil gas assessment, environmental management plans, EPA hazard classification for offsite disposal of waste soils & underground storage tank removal & validation. A.S. James can tailor environmental services to meet clients’ needs while satisfying local authority requirements and state legislative obligations.

A.S. James has over 25 years of environmental consulting experience in the Melbourne suburbs & Country Victoria. A.S. James & its consultants are members of both the Australasian Land & Groundwater Association (ALGA) & the Environmental Institute of Australia & New Zealand (EIANZ).


 
 
 

PRELIMINARY ENVIRONMENTAL SITE ASSESSMENT (PHASE 1)

A PESA is a study of the past & present land uses of a parcel of land or a site. The PESA will establish whether the site has any potential for soil or groundwater contamination. A PESA is required to be performed as part of regulatory compliance as directed by local council or Victorian EPA, site rezoning or redevelopment requirements for property purchase or divestment.

Typical activities undertaken as part of a PESA include:

  • Site history review to determine past & current land uses.
  • Site walkover survey to determine potential sources of contamination, e.g. presence of an underground storage tank, above ground storage tank, chemical store areas, visual staining on soil surface etc.
  • Site characterisation via collection of relevant site specific information including geological & hydrogeological information, surrounding land uses etc.
  • Development of a preliminary site specific conceptual site model to detail potential pollutant linkages present at the site.
  • Limited soil sampling for identified potential contaminants of concern via borehole drilling, hand augering & test pitting sampling methods.
  • Analysis of all data obtained during the assessment & compilation of an appropriate PESA report, detailing environmental quality of the soil with respect to future site users & environment.

A.S. James’s team of environmental consultants can individually tailor a scope of works for a PESA to suit a client’s requirements & budget.

A.S. James’s environmental site assessments are performed in accordance with Victorian legislation & state policies, Victorian EPA guidelines & National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure.

DETAILED ENVIRONMENTAL SITE ASSESSMENT (PHASE 2)

The requirement for a DESA will be dependent on the initial outcome of the PESA. The DESA will aim to resolve any uncertainties identified in the PESA, while also determining the extent (both lateral & vertical), nature & concentration of contaminants present on the site with a high degree of confidence.

Typical activities undertaken as part of a DESA include:

  • Design of a sampling programme using the initial PESA information.
  • Updating of site specific conceptual site model with new information to detail potential pollutant linkages present at the site.
  • Soil sample collection & analysis for identified contaminants of concern.
  • Assessment of groundwater, including groundwater monitoring well installation & analysis, if deemed to be required.
  • Analysis of laboratory data & appraisal of risk contaminants pose to future site users & environment.
  • Compilation of appropriate DESA report detailing environmental quality of site soil & underlying groundwater with respect to future site users & environment.

DUE DILIGENCE / BASELINE ENVIRONMENTAL SITE ASSESSMENT FOR PROPERTY PURCHASE

Whether you are buying or selling a property, a Due Diligence Environmental Site Assessment can assist in determining the environmental quality of the site & potential environmental liabilities associated with the site in a transparent way, which can increase the value of a property and reduce anxiety & risks for prospective purchasers. A.S. James acknowledges that the scope & intent of a Due Diligence Environmental Site Assessment can vary depending on property type & client objectives, therefore, a scope of works can be tailored to suit the clients’ objectives & budget.

Typical activities undertaken as part of a Due Diligence Environmental Site Assessment include:

  • Site history review to determine past & current land uses.
  • Site walkover survey to determine potential sources of contamination, e.g. presence of an underground storage tank, above ground storage tank, chemical store areas, visual staining on soil surface etc.
  • Site characterisation via collection of relevant site specific information including geological & hydrogeological information, surrounding land uses etc.
  • Development of a preliminary site specific conceptual site model to detail potential pollutant linkages present at the site.
  • Limited soil sampling for identified potential contaminants of concern via borehole drilling, hand augering & test pitting sampling methods.
  • Assessment of groundwater, including groundwater monitoring well installation & analysis, if required.
  • Analysis of all data obtained during the assessment & compilation of an appropriate report, detailing environmental quality of site with respect to future site users & environment.

Groundwater Assessment

Groundwater is a vital resource & is protected by State Environment Protection Policy (SEPP) in Victoria. Groundwater contamination can result from a number of sources including leaking above ground fuel storage tanks, underground fuel storage tanks, contaminated soils, chemical spillage & landfill leachate.

Groundwater should be assessed when a sub-surface source of contamination, such as those listed previous, has been identified at the site. This is crucial in ascertaining potential environmental liability associated with the site & / or risk to future site users.

A.S. James can provide groundwater assessment a as part of an environmental site assessment, to demonstrate regulatory underground petroleum storage systems compliance or for due diligence purposes to identify potential environmental liabilities associated with the site.

SOIL VAPOUR ASSESSMENT

Hazardous ground gases including methane, carbon dioxide, chlorinated hydrocarbons, petroleum hydrocarbons etc. can be present on high risk sites due to past anthropogenic activities including landfilling, chemical spillages & leaking underground storage tanks at service stations & industrial premises. A.S. James can design and install permanent or semi-permanent soil vapour monitoring wells for investigation or compliance monitoring and provide an appropriate assessment report.

ASBESTOS IN SOIL SURVEY

Asbestos in soil is to be assessed with respect to the current Victorian Occupational Health & Safety Guidelines & the amended NEPM 2013.

A.S. James can provide risk assessment of asbestos in soil. The initial step includes a preliminary site investigation which entails a brief site history investigation coupled with site inspection. During inspection the presence or absence of asbestos in soils can be determined via sampling. Determining the extent and nature of the asbestos within the soil profile is an important aspect of the assessment and ongoing management of the impacted area.

NEPM 2013 provides preliminary Tier 1 screening criteria based on Western Australia Department of Health Guidelines that can be adopted during risk assessments. A.S. James will ensure that both Victorian Occupational Health & Safety Guidelines & NEPM 2013 requirements are satisfied for your site.

UNDERGROUND & ABOVEGROUND STORAGE TANK REMOVAL & VALIDATION

Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) & Aboveground Storage Tanks (ASTs) represent a significant potential source of soil & groundwater contamination. Their presence on a site can represent a significant environmental liability to a prospective purchaser or current land owner should they fail structurally.

When USTs & ASTs are proposed to be taken out of service state legislation requirements ensure that these are decommissioned appropriately & removed offsite. To ensure decommission & removal is performed satisfactorily, A.S. James carry out the following:

  • Adherence to all relevant state legislations & Australian Standards regarding UST & AST decommissioning & removal.
  • Removal & offsite disposal of remaining liquid fuel via appropriate contractor.
  • Assessment of the nature & extent of associated soil & groundwater contamination.
  • EPA hazard classification for offsite disposal of waste soil report for fuel contamination impacted soils generated by over excavation.
  • Validation report outlining infrastructure removed & environmental condition of remaining soils.
  • Recommendation of reinstatement with Clean Fill material.

EPA HAZARD CLASSIFICATION FOR OFFSITE DISPOSAL OF WASTE SOIL

Soil proposed to be removed offsite in Victoria must be classified in accordance with Victorian EPA IWRG Publication 621-2009 & soil will not be accepted by landfill sites in the state of Victoria without an EPA Hazard Classification for Offsite Disposal of Waste Soil report.

Soil can be sampled in-situ via borehole drilling, hand augering or test pit excavation. Should the soil proposed to be removed offsite be stockpiled ex-situ, this can be sampled via hand augering or by use of an onsite excavator. The sampling density is determined by Victorian EPA Publication IWRG 702-2009. Once an EPA Hazard Classification for Offsite Disposal of Waste Soil report has been issued the contaminated soil must be transported to a licensed landfill site or alternative off-site remediation facility in Victorian EPA licensed vehicles. Soils classified as Clean Fill Material can be moved without restriction in the State of Victoria.

Due to the increasingly cost prohibitive practice of removing contaminated soils to landfill, A.S. James can provide advice on suitable alternatives to disposal of soil offsite such as managing contaminated soils onsite & other more cost effective treatments off-site.

CONTAMINATED SOIL REMEDIATION

A.S. James can provide advice on suitable remediation options available to the client & project manage remediation by specialist remediation contractors. A range of remedial options are available depending on the type and degree of contamination present in the soils on a site. These remedial options can range from bioremediation of petroleum hydrocarbon contamination to thermal desorption of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) & / or polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) impacted soils.

ENVIRONMENTAL SUPERVISION IN CONJUNCTION WITH LEVEL 1 SUPERVISION OF LARGE SCALE EARTHWORKS SITES

A.S. James can provide advice on a range of suitable practical environmental controls to be implemented to ensure that the fill being imported into the fill site is Clean Fill Material. A.S. James also provides technical review of provided Clean Fill Certificate documents & implementation of appropriate validation soil sampling. Our experienced onsite technicians ensure controls are maintained & work efficiently.

ENVIRONMENTAL SITE ASSESSMENTS FOR STATUTORY PURPOSES (ENVIRONMENTAL AUDIT)

The environmental audit system in Victoria is used by planning & local authorities, government agencies, landowners & other stakeholders to provide assurance that a potentially contaminated site is suitable for use. A statutory environmental audit is triggered when land proposed for new use is potentially contaminated or is already covered by an environmental audit overlay (EAO) within a planning scheme. A statutory environmental audit may also be require by local government to satisfy a planning permit, typically in the case where a site has proposed to be rezoned to a more sensitive land use (i.e. construction of residential buildings on former industrial land) or undertaken voluntarily to satisfy commercial due-diligence requirements

53X Environmental Audits

Generally, a 53X audit is required when land proposed for new use is potentially contaminated or already covered by an environmental audit overlay (EAO) within a planning scheme.

  • Certificate of Environmental Audit: Is issued for a property where, following an audit, an environmental auditor believes the environmental condition of the land is suitable for any beneficial use.
  • Statement of Environmental Audit: Is issued where, following an audit, an environmental auditor believes the land isn’t suitable for all possible beneficial uses, but is suitable for specific uses or developments. It may contain conditions for clean-up or management of contamination. If the land use changes for a property which has been issued an environmental audit, a new audit may be needed.

53V Environmental Audits

A 53V (‘risk of harm’) audit is most commonly used by EPA to understand the risk to the environment posed by an industrial activity or to validate that cleanup of contaminated land or groundwater has occurred. The 53V audit assesses the risk of any possible harm to a site caused by an industrial process or activity, waste substance or noise. This includes audits associated with the construction and operation of landfills.

A 53V audit can be used to demonstrate compliance with an EPA licence or to assess the remaining contamination on a site to support the scope of a cleanup plan. A 53V audit can be required by a planning authority (local government) when there is a planning permit application relating to a site located in a landfill buffer zone.

Environmental Site Management Plans

Site management plans are used to ensure adequate environmental management procedures are followed in the presence of contamination of soil & groundwater during construction works & ongoing future use.

Construction Stage Soil Management Plan

A Construction Stage Soil Management Plan (CSSMP) is a very important aspect of appropriately managing contaminated soil during the construction stage. A.S. James can assist with tailoring a site specific CSSMP to help establish appropriate control measures & processes to adequately manage contaminated soils safely & in accordance with state & national environmental legislation.

Environmental Soil Management Plan

An Environmental Soil Management Plan (ESMP) is required when there is a need for ongoing management of soil contamination on a site (i.e. when it is environmentally appropriate, cost effective & acceptable to all relevant stakeholders involved to retain and manage soil contamination on-site). The ESMP includes details relating to implementation & management of control measures (i.e. use of permanent barriers, capping layers or other remedial measures) required to minimise potential exposure of future site users & maintenance workers.

Groundwater Management Plan

A Groundwater Management Plan (GMP) is required when groundwater underlying the site has been polluted. The GMP will involve monitoring of groundwater characteristics & quality, and is usually required to determine the ongoing effectiveness of groundwater remedial activities, to confirm groundwater quality & detail contingency measures to be implemented in the event that action trigger levels are exceeded.

KEY ENVIRONMENTAL PEOPLE

ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER (CONTAMINATED LAND)

Rory Summerville – BEng Civil (Hons), MSc Env Eng, MEIANZ, MIEAust

Rory worked as a Civil & Water engineer for a combined period of three years in Ireland and the UK prior to joining A.S. James Pty Ltd in 2012. In 2011 Rory gained a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering with a special emphasis on contaminated land and hydrogeology, gaining a coveted distinction in the process. Since joining A.S. James he has been involved in a diverse range of contaminated land projects ranging from phase one and phase two environmental site assessments for both residential and industrial sites to aiding completion of environmental audits, groundwater investigations & Victorian EPA soil hazard classifications throughout Melbourne and regional Victoria.

GEOLOGIST

Karl Smith

Karl has worked for A.S. James since 1994. The first 6 years was in the Soil’s Laboratory where, in conjunction with his previous experience as a Soils Laboratory Manager with Technisearch Limited, gained a further understanding of soil mechanics. From 2000 onwards Karl worked in the role of a geologist in both geotechnical engineering and environmental assessment fields with extensive field experience in house site classifications, to soil testing for industrial/commercial construction and environmental site assessments, including reporting.

Karl operates out of Tasmania where he has undertaken and supervised over 100 geotechnical investigations for telecommunication towers.