Contaminated land

Find information about land contamination, how to report leaks or spills at Underground Petroleum Storage Systems (UPSS) and impacts of sand mining on land. 

Land within the Byron Shire has historically been used for a variety of activities, such as:

  • Industrial
  • Agricultural 
  • Commercial activities. 

These activities may cause land contamination as they involve hazardous substances such as:

  • Pesticides
  • Heavy metals 
  • Hydrocarbons.

Environment Protection Authority

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) regulates contaminated sites that pose a significant risk of harm to human health or the environment.

NSW EPA Contaminated Land Statutory Guidelines

Contaminated sites that are not regulated by NSW EPA are managed by council. 

The State Environmental Planning Policy (Resilience and Hazards) 2021 requires Council to consider whether land is contaminated during the development assessment process.

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is investigating contamination from per-and-poly fluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances in/around the Mullumbimby Fire and Rescue NSW Station.

More information is in a media release published on the EPA's website.

If you have any enquires:

Byron Shire Council is a member of the Northern Rivers Contaminated Land Program. This is funded by the NSW EPA's Council Regional Capacity Building Program.

The program provides a regional focus on contamination and potentially contaminating activities.

For further information on the program, contact Council's Environmental Health team on 02 6626 7107.

Underground Petroleum Storage Systems (UPSS) are designed to store fuel beneath the ground. Systems include:

  • Tanks
  • Pipes
  • Valves 
  • Other equipment.

Underground Petroleum Storage Systems are typically found in: 

  • Service stations
  • Mechanic workshops
  • Depots
  • Marinas
  • Car dealerships 
  • Airports.

These are considered a high-risk environmental activity which can leak and contaminate surrounding land and groundwater. 

Underground Petroleum Storage Systems Regulations

The Protection of the Environment Operations (Underground Petroleum Storage System) Regulation 2019 aims to minimise the risk to human health and the environment by requiring best practice:

  • Design
  • Installation
  • Maintenance
  • Monitoring

of UPSS in NSW.

Reporting Pollution

Leaks or spills causing harm to the environment or human health must be immediately reported to Council. 

More information

Underground Petroleum Storage Systems EPA website

Some properties within the Byron Shire have been the subject of historical sand mining activities in the past. 

These activities may have led to the concentration of naturally occurring radioactive materials. 

If your land may have been the subject of sand mining you need to engage a specialist environmental consultant. They will investigate the site before the land can be subdivided or developed

If radiation levels exceed relevant criteria, the land will need to be remediated and validated prior to development.

Council may need the following to be reviewed by a NSW EPA accredited site auditor:

  • Site assessment
  • Remediation action plan 
  • Site validation.

Radiation from heavy mineral sands residues factsheet (Northern Rivers Contaminated Land Program)(PDF, 2MB)