Contaminated land has become an increasingly important environmental, health, economic and planning issue in Australia over the past few years. With changing community standards and the redevelopment of former industrial and agricultural land, there is increasing recognition of the problems associated with contaminated sites. The environmental implications of chemically contaminated land have now become a worldwide issue and in response many countries, including Australia, have developed a range of approaches to deal with the associated problems.
In 1992, in an effort to overcome this situation, the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) jointly developed Guidelines for the Assessment and Remediation of Contaminated Sites. The Assessment of Site Contamination NEPM, made in 1999, replaces the assessment component of this guideline.