Why History is important to Environmental Science

Sydney has a diverse and multi-faceted land use history. Originally, Sydney’s Central Industrial Area was focused upon inner city areas such as Ultimo, Surry Hills, Redfern, Alexandria etc. However, as a result of ongoing suburbanisation from the 1960s onwards, manufacturing was increasingly pushed to outer suburban areas to follow population dispersal and limit costs. The twin-processes of decentralisation and deindustrialisation from the 1970s onwards resulted in the closing or relocation of many manufacturing sites. Given this varied history of Sydney’s land use, it is important to consider the status of the land. While contaminated sites can occur anywhere, classically they occur in areas that have been exposed to heavy industry or chemically intensive agriculture. Due to the potential economic, legal, environmental, health and planning implications, it is essential that appropriate actions are taken where even suspected contaminated land is involved.

In order to assess contaminated land, A.D. Envirotech (ADE) follows the management framework as outlined by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997. As part of this, there are 4 main stages of contamination investigation, with each phase only being conducted if concern is raised in the previous phase.

4 Stages of Contamination Investigation:

  • Phase One: Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI). This identifies the possibility of site contamination and the potential for the contaminants to leach into adjacent sites.
  • Phase Two: Detailed Site Investigation (DSI). Phase Two investigations build on the work started in the initial stage and contain a detailed background search, including a comprehensive analysis of contaminants present and the identification of potential impacts, both for human and environmental health.
  • Phase Three: Site Remedial Action Plan (RAP). RAPs are specifically designed to suit site conditions and are created in such a way that enables the land to be rehabilitated so that it can be used for the desired ends.
  • Phase Four: Validation and Long-Term Monitoring. Through continued monitoring and assessment, this phase ensures that the site remains fit for use and that no contaminants linger on.

As such, it is critical that the land use history of a site is considered and assessed prior to major works being conducted. Indeed, the bottom line is that if you’re unsure of the status of a site, have it checked out – if contaminated land is identified prior to works commencing, this will save you time, stress and money. Don’t leave it to chance!


A.D. Envirotech Australia Pty Ltd – Head Office
Unit 6/7 Millennium Ct.,
Silverwater, NSW, 2128, Australia
(02) 8541 7214

A.D. Envirotech Australia Pty Ltd – Laboratory
4/10-11 Millennium Ct
Silverwater, NSW, 2128, Australia
(02) 9648 6669


A. D. Envirotech Australia Pty Ltd (ADE)
PO Box 288
Upper Coomera LPO,
QLD, 4209 Australia
(07) 5519 4610

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