Frequently Asked Questions
Lead Mitigation Grants Panel
assessments are conducted consistently and without prejudice
applications are assessed against the Lead Mitigation Grant Guidelines
advice and recommendations reflect good governance and probity.
What does the Panel do?
The Panel is responsible for implementing Lake Macquarie City Council’s Lead Mitigation Grants Program. They will assess grant applications and disburse funding to help eligible landowners in North Lake Macquarie manage soil contamination issues.
The Panel is responsible for ensuring:
Who is on the Panel?
Membership for the Panel includes two Council staff members, one NSW EPA representative and one community representative.
How is the community representative appointed?
Council is calling for Expressions of Interest from residents who would like to become a volunteer member of the Panel. In selecting the community representative, preference will be given to candidates who can assess grant application independently and represent the interests of the local community. Expressions of Interest close 27 September 2019.
How often will the Panel meet?
Panel meetings will be held quarterly or as needed. Notification of meeting dates and times to members and invitees will be provided at least seven days in advance of the scheduled meeting. The first meeting is expected to be in October 2019.
Where does the Panel meet?
Panel meetings will be held in Council’s administrative building (126-138 Main Road, Speers Point).
How long will the community representative be a member of the Panel?
The term of appointment is for the duration of the NSW EPA project funding agreement with Council to 30 June 2022. An alternate representative may be appointed if the representative is unable to attend future meetings.
Development Control Plan Amendment
What does the amendment to the Development Control Plan change?
All development applications submitted to Council are considered for potential contamination issues. Properties that fall within the Lead Abatement Strategy area are considered potentially contaminated until sampling and analysis results prove otherwise.
The proposed amendment aims to streamline this assessment of contamination, and make it easier for residents of the Lead Abatement Strategy area to submit development applications.
Instead of the current four-step application process, the amendment proposes to replace this with a simpler two-step process for residents living in this area. Figure 1 below shows the current steps that are required during a development application and the streamlined approach that the amendment to the Development Control Plan will allow.
Why is this changing?
This amendment to the Development Control Plan was recommended by the Lead Expert Working Group. The Lead Expert Working Group was established by the NSW Environment Protection Authority to evaluate the effectiveness of the Lead Abatement Strategy. The Lead Expert Working Group made 22 recommendations, which were all endorsed by both Council and the State Government in 2017.
How do the changes to the Development Control Plan affect me?
The proposed changes to the Development Control Plan will only affect you if you lodge a development application for a residential property in the Lead Abatement Strategy area.
How can I provide comment and seek further information?
You can provide a brief comment or upload a detailed written submission on this project page. Alternatively, you can write to Council before close of business on Monday 26 August 2019. You can either send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter addressed to
Lake Macquarie City Council
Box 1906, Hunter Region Mail Centre
In addition, hard copies of the material will be available at Council’s Customer Service Centre, 126 – 138 Main Road, Speers Point and at the following libraries: Belmont, Cardiff, Charlestown, Edgeworth, Morisset, Speers Point, Swansea, Toronto, Wangi Wangi and Windale.
Council staff will also be available to provide more information about this proposed amendment at a pop-up stall at the Lake Macquarie Farmers Markets at Speers Point Park on Saturday 27 July, 7.30am-1pm.
What other opportunities are there for residents in the Lead Abatement Strategy area?
Council is working with the Environmental Protection Agency to develop the Lead Mitigation Grant Program, which will support eligible residents and land owners who have been adversely impacted by lead soil contamination. Further detail on this grant program, and information on how to apply, will be available in late 2019.
Do I have to do any testing?
No. You are only required to have testing completed if you are lodging a development application with Council for a residential property.
What was the Lead Abatement Strategy?
The Lead Abatement Strategy was developed by the Deed Administrators of Pasminco Cockle Creek Pty Ltd to find a suitable and workable solution to managing the lead fallout levels from soils in the community surrounding the former smelter.
The Lead Abatement Strategy was designed to minimise exposure to lead contaminated soil on residential properties. As part of the strategy, lead-in-soil testing was undertaken and abatement works were conducted, if necessary, to ensure there was an effective physical barrier between residents and contaminated soil. The physical barrier was established by using materials such as soil, turf, or concrete.
Participation in the Lead Abatement Strategy was voluntary, and owners of approximately half of the nominated properties chose to opt out. Property owners that participated in the Lead Abatement Strategy had soils on their property tested, and abatement works were undertaken where required.
After the site was tested and an appropriate barrier between the residents and the contaminated soil was in place, the property owners received a "Certificate of Completion". It is important to highlight that this does not indicate that the site is free from lead-in-soil contamination, but rather, that works were conducted in accordance with the Lead Abatement Strategy.
Where is the Lead Abatement Strategy area?
What about the testing that was carried out during the Lead Abatement Strategy?
Council’s contaminated land threshold for lead-in-soil for residential development is 300ppm. This is based on the National Environmental Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 for residential development.
Based on the results of the testing during the Lead Abatement Strategy, or the choice not to participate in the Strategy, each property within the Lead Abatement Strategy area was assigned a contamination notation.
The contamination notations are:
Notation 1 – contaminated land
Notation 2 – potentially contaminated land
Notation 3 – remediated and above the contaminated land investigation threshold levels
Notation 4 – remediated and below the contaminated land investigation threshold levels
Notation 5 – below contaminated land investigation threshold
Notation 6 – no clear site history
Properties with contamination notation 1, 2 and 3 will need to have contamination assessed during the development application process. Properties with contamination 4 and 5 do not need to have contamination assessed during the development application process and the proposed changes to the Development Control Plan will not affect these properties.
You can check your contamination notation using Council’s online property enquiry tool: http://apptracking.lakemac.com.au/modules/PropertyMaster/default.aspx
Once you agree to the terms and conditions of using the property enquiry tool, you then need to enter your property details and click search. Your property should then be displayed and when you click on this link, the property details are shown. The contamination notation for your property can be found in the minor conditions, which are at the bottom of the page. You can also contact Council and request information on the contamination status of your property. Any relevant documentation held by Council will be provided on request.
Does this make me responsible for the contamination on my property?
Landholders undertaking development on contaminated or potentially contaminated land are required to take measures to prevent harm to human or environmental health. The Standard Remedial Action Plans detail how contaminated soil is to be managed on the property during development.
Why doesn’t this apply to commercial properties?
The Standard Remediation Action Plan only applies to residential properties. As the chance of soil exposure for residential properties is higher, the requirements for residential properties are more stringent. As a result, commercial and industrial properties will still need to follow the existing process for contamination assessment.
What about Council land?
Rehabilitation of all contaminated land must be in accordance with the State Environmental Planning Policy No 55 – Remediation of Land.
Works involving contaminated land on Council controlled land, is undertaken in accordance with Council’s Environmental Management Plan for Contaminated Land in Council’s Care and Control. Contamination management on Council controlled land may include on-site containment or off-site disposal at an appropriately licenced facility. The remediation options in for Council land are equivalent to and as stringent as the options outlined in the Standard Remedial Action Plans.
Why does the amendment state that the Lake Macquarie Community Lead Reference Group will
The reference in the Standard Remedial Action Plan to the Lake Macquarie Lead Community Reference Group is a legacy from earlier drafts and will be removed from any future versions of the document.
To date, community consultation for the Standard Remedial Action Plan has included writing to all Councillors, MPs, relevant government agencies, all landowners within the lead abatement strategy area and newspaper advertising. The exhibition period has been extended until Monday 26 August 2019, and will also include a pop-up stall at Lake Macquarie Farmers Market at Speers Point Park on 27 July 2019.
Living Safely with Lead in Lake Macquarie
Lead soil disposal for Lake Macquarie residents
The NSW EPA has an arrangement in place with Newcastle City Council for disposal of contaminated soil from the North Lake Macquarie suburbs of Boolaroo, Argenton and Speers Point that are within the lead abatement strategy area.
Residents wishing to dispose of material at Summerhill Waste Management Centre (SWMC) should contact the NSW EPA to receive a consignment number, (http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/working-together/community-engagement/community-news/lmc-review-lead-exposure-management/lead-soil-disposal-for-lake-macquarie-residents).
Contaminated soil must then be placed in bulka bags provided free of charge by Newcastle City Council, a delivery time booked in with SWMC and the load delivered to SWMC at the scheduled time. The 2018-19 cost is $284.50 per tonne including all fees and levies apply.
For more information, residents can contact the NSW EPA Environment Line on 131 555 or Newcastle City Council on 4974 2000. Further information about lead safety can be found on the NSW EPA's website, www.epa.nsw.gov.au.
Why can't we take the soil to Awaba Waste Management Facility or somewhere else in Lake Macquarie?
The Awaba Waste Management Facility is relatively small and is unable to accommodate a new cell for contaminated land.
Environmental, human health and financial costs associated with opening a new dedicated site in Lake Macquarie for the disposal of contaminated soil from North Lake Macquarie is prohibitive compared to the available cell for contaminated soil at Newcastle City Council's Summerhill Waste Management Centre.
When will the Council officer start?
Anticipated starting time for this NSW EPA grant funded role will be 1 October 2018. The key duties of this role will be:
- to monitor ongoing issues and to identify future issues regarding legacy lead contamination in Lake Macquarie through a risk communication framework
- as a single point of contact for the community, agencies and external stakeholders in regard to legacy lead contamination in Lake Macquarie
- providing funding support and advice to public and private landholders wishing to undertake voluntary soil assessment and property remediation
- expanding engagement material to include advice on maintaining contamination barriers and hygiene, and improving links to and from Hunter New England Health information.
What is the funding breakdown for the NSW EPA grant?
How much input does the community actually have into the Living with Lead in North Lake Macquarie small grant program?
When does the small grant fund open and how can I access it?
The current community engagement is seeking community feedback into the criteria for accessing the funding for the small grant fund. Once this feedback has been reviewed it will be used to help determine the grant criteria and governance arrangements.
The grant program arrangements will then be finalised, with an access date likely to be from late 2019.