Contaminated land management | Brisbane City Council

Contaminated land management

Many properties Council leases or licences were once landfill sites, referred to as closed landfill sites. Due to the sites former use as an active landfill site the land is required to be registered with the Queensland Government and in most instances is on the Environmental Management Register (EMR).

As a result these sites require a higher level of preplanning, site assessment and contaminated soil management should excavations and site development be proposed.

Closed landfill sites have various levels of contamination and different waste types buried beneath the surface of grassed playing fields and buildings.

As the waste still remains buried these sites pose more difficult development environments, require additional assessment and are likely to have contaminated soil and water, asbestos containing materials and landfill gasses to consider and manage.

Determining if your lease area is on a closed landfill site

In most cases, it will be identified in the terms and conditions of your lease if the lease area is a closed landfill site.

In some cases, contamination may only be known when site works and excavations commence, hence it is important to always contact the Community Facilities Operations Team to assist you through the planning phase of site development projects.

If you are unsure if your lease area was once a landfill site, phone Council on 07 3403 8888.

Tenant responsibilities

Council tenants, including sub-lessees, on closed landfill sites are responsible for protecting their members and other users of the site from environmental and health risks. This can be achieved by:

  • obtaining written Council approval prior to undertaking any building, development or excavation works or making any changes to the use of the site
  • selecting fit for purpose construction techniques and design materials to consider the waste environment
  • planning the development of the site to consider site environmental investigation findings and associated closed landfill risks
  • reporting any suspected contamination release or surface collapse incidents
  • ensuring no soil or waste is removed from the site without notifying Council, testing the soil and obtaining the necessary Soil Disposal Permits
  • protecting the landfill cap/cover over waste and maintaining healthy grass coverage over fields
  • ensuring all workers or sub-contractors are aware the site is a closed landfill and job specific risks are managed through documented work safe procedures.

It is crucial you do not undertake any building, development or excavation works on a closed landfill site without written Council approval.

Any proposed change to the use of the site also requires Council approval and may trigger further site risk and contamination assessment.

Before you start planning any works or site use changes phone Council on 07 3403 8888 and ask to speak to the Community Facilities Operations Team.

The team can provide you with essential pre-planning advice, guidance on technical information you may need to obtain, assistance in identifying site constraints and advise on appropriate site management processes.

It is also important to note there may be significant additional costs associated with planning and undertaking works on a closed landfill site including the cost of preliminary technical investigations.

Following preliminary discussions with Council regarding your proposed works or site use changes, you may then be guided to formally apply for written Council approval to proceed with your project.

To apply for approval visit Application for works on a community lease site.

More information

For further advice on whether your leased site is on closed landfill and how to manage contaminated land phone Council on 07 3403 8888 and ask to speak to the Community Facilities Operations Team or email

22 January 2019