The Australian risk-based approach to assessing and remediating MGPs
Jason Clay

Although Australia has a limited industrial history, it does have rich reserves of raw materials like coal. As a result, Australia has a considerable legacy of MGP resultant contamination. The approach to assessing and remediating these sites varies on a state-by-state basis, but the over-arching National Environment Protection Measure (NEPM) acts as the cornerstone for all contaminated land assessment in Australia. The NEPM has followed many international jurisdictions and put in place a risk-based approach to contaminated land assessment, publishing soil Investigation Levels that are protective of health (HILs), for a range of land uses, and ecology (EILs). The numbers are calculated using exposure assessment and are supported by a considerable volume of research published in the Department of Health’s Monographs. The monographs are starting to look a little dated, and research on producing risk-based screening numbers for volatiles is currently under way. In the everyday area of remediating MGPs in Australia, and in the absence of relevant national guidance information, practitioners are turning to other international methodologies. This leads to the genera-tion of robust risk-based site-specific screening levels using a variety of models that must each be reviewed and approved by the regulator. This paper throws light on the techniques for which guid-ance is in place in Australia and how assessments are undertaken where guidance is lacking.

Key words: additivity, Australia, dose-response, exposure, hazard, health risk assessment

Land Contamination & Reclamation, 14 (2), 543-547

DOI 10.2462/09670513.734

© 2007 EPP Publications Ltd

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Article code 734