Site Contamination Specialist

For the purposes of Certification, “Site Contamination Practice” is considered to be:

“a specialised professional area involving a number of disciplines.  Practitioners must have a range of competencies and be able to recognise the need for supporting professional advice beyond their own expertise when assessing contamination and its effects on land use and the environment.

The extent to which these competencies are required varies with the level and nature of work being carried out by the professional.  For example, the professional may be operating as a third-party reviewer, a specialist professional certifying work under statute or an environmental consultant involved in carrying out contaminated site assessments or operating as an accredited auditor (any jurisdiction).  The complexity of contamination issues will vary on individual sites from a single known contaminant with limited site distribution to sites with multiple contaminants of unknown vertical and lateral spread, off-site impacts and obvious human health and environmental risks.

Professional assessments of site contamination deal with health and environmental issues of concern to landowners, occupiers, regulators, local government, planning authorities and the public.  These assessments are required by regulatory and planning authorities for the management of contaminated sites and in development approval processes.”

This description makes it clear that an SC practitioner must have the ability to draw together knowledge from a variety of sources and disciplines.1

1 National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 (April 2013), NEPC 2013, Canberra.

To qualify for CEnvP Site Contamination Specialist status you need:

  • an engineering degree, science degree, or a degree with a substantial environmental component will generally constitute the minimum requirement.
  • 8 years of full-time equivalent experience in site contamination practice within at least 10 years of overall environmental experience. At least the most recent three years must be supported by documentary evidence such as reports or other publications.
  • nomination by three respected environmental professionals who are willing to act as referees for the candidate.
  • evidence that the candidate is a respected, competent, ethical and active member of the profession in the form of at least two referee statements (with at least one external to the applicant’s current place of employment), a detailed curriculum vitae, reports, publications, citations, conference/seminar presentations, etc.
  • evidence of an ongoing commitment to training and professional improvement (at least 100 points of training, professional improvement, service to professional practice over a two-year period). Fifty percent must be directly related to contaminated land practice.
  • a signed and witnessed statement of claim covering qualifications, experience, ethics, commitment and the accuracy of the materials provided to the Certification Board.

Practitioners can apply for both CEnvP (General) and SC Specialist certification at the same time. If an applicant is not approved by the Certification Board for CEnvP (General) certification, the applicant will also not be eligible for the SC Specialist certification.

Application process

Upon application submission, each regulator (e.g. State Authorities for Contaminated Sites) are provided with a list of intending applicants. The purpose of this is to allow regulators to raise any concerns they might have regarding an applicant.

Applications can be submitted online anytime during the year. Upon receipt of a valid and complete application, the applicant will be requested to attend an interview within two months. Applications are usually processed within 6 months, but the process may take up to 12 months, if an application is incomplete.

Please note:
• your online application for certification is active for 30 days. After 30 days, your application is voided automatically on our systems.
• you can save your application and resume for 30 days. When clicking the ‘Save and Resume Later’ button you will receive a link to your application via email. If you do not send yourself the link, you will have to start the application again.
• incomplete or flawed applications will be delayed until all missing documentation is received. This may delay your application process.

Application fees

The lodged application form must be accompanied by a non- refundable application fee. Please see further information on fees.

Provided the required supporting material has been submitted, the application is forwarded to the relevant Registrar for a preliminary check to ensure that the application is ready to be forwarded to an Assessment Panel.

An advice of receipt of the application will be sent to the candidate. In case of an incomplete application, it will be referred to the candidate for correction.

Application fees are non-refundable unless it is obvious to the Registrar that the applicant cannot meet the certain criteria. In this case the application will be returned to the applicant together with a portion of the application fee.

The annual fee for the first year is calculated on a pro-rata basis from the month they were certified.

Due to the cross-disciplinary nature of SC work, a CEnvP SC Specialist must have the ability to apply knowledge and experience in numerous aspects. The following abilities must be demonstrated by an SC Specialist in their written application and interview.

1. Determining the nature, causes and significance of site contamination
• Types of industries and land uses (current and historical), and the particular contaminants they produce, which are commonly associated with site contamination
• The effect of geological, hydro-geological, and environmental settings on contamination issues
• The significance of the built environment including residences, services, and other land use infrastructure for site contamination issues
• Environmental chemistry
• The fate and transport of common contaminants in typical settings including chemical, biological and physical processes as these relate to the solid, liquid and gaseous phases
• The primary sources used for assessment of the significance of contamination issues including regulatory and
scientifically authoritative references

2. Preliminary assessment of site contamination
• Planning and contextualising the purpose of an assessment process
• Site inspection and conducting enquiries sufficient to maximise information for contamination assessment purposes
• Conduct of a site history incorporating knowledge of common reliable sources and approaches for this
• Initiation of a Conceptual Site Model based on the above incorporating knowledge of the overall environmental setting including land use/built environment factors , geology and hydrogeology, and surface environment
• Provision of advice as to whether contamination represents a risk requiring further detailed site assessment by applying understandings in Competency 1

3. Detailed assessment involving the characterisation of site contamination
• Data Quality Objectives, including quality assurance and quality control practices and their application
• Soil science
• Sampling methodology and design for contamination in soils, groundwater, vapour (soil and indoor), surface water and sediments
• Documentation and management of data for interpretation of contamination significance and site management
• Quality assurance of data for assessing contamination, including identification of data gaps and areas of uncertainty.
• Assessment of the significance of contamination by applying understandings in competency 1 and/or by using Tier 1 risk assessment, or more advanced risk assessment, to understand potential impact of contamination
• Validation of a site following remediation works.

4. Risk assessment of site contamination
• Criteria and legislative requirements
• Risk assessment framework
• Environmental and human toxicology
• Ecological risk assessment and human health risk assessment and the importance of each for a particular site setting
• The use and limitations of modeling in undertaking risk assessments
• Understanding of relevant publications for the purpose of risk assessment

5. Remediation and management of site contamination
• Remediation and management options including available technologies for particular types of contamination in soil, groundwater, vapour, surface water and sediments.
• Remediation/management frameworks
• Development of site specific remediation/management objectives, implement and monitor performance of selected approaches, and to validate achievement of objectives
• Handling of wastes generated from remediation activities
• Validation sampling

6. Professional practice in relation to site contamination
• Ability to lead and integrate multidisciplinary contaminated land assessment studies of moderate complexity (e.g. multiple affected media and/or contaminant types, potentially complete exposure pathways to human and environmental receptors, sensitive land uses affected) and to look beyond mere regulatory compliance to promote best practice
• Adherence to ethical obligations and standards
• Sound project management practices – quality, time, cost
• Understanding of relevant legislation relating to contaminated sites including property and planning law
• Health and safety management, including workplace safety law, applied to contaminated site activity
• Writing complete, relevant and understandable technical reports
• Risk communication with all stakeholders including community consultation
• Basics of contract law and contract management
• Understand of the audit system

Educational qualification

An engineering degree, science degree, or a degree with a substantial environmental component will generally constitute the minimum requirement. In the case of the latter, further information verifying the environmental content must be provided (e.g. a transcript or academic record).
In exceptional circumstances, appropriate work experience may be submitted in lieu of a suitable tertiary qualification; eligibility of the use of this clause will be evaluated on a case by case basis by the CEnvP board.

Work experience

In order to be eligible for CEnvP SC Specialist status, an applicant must have 10 years of full-time experience in environmental practice, with at least 8 years of that experience in the functional areas of Site Contamination. Specifically, in three or more of the following areas:

• Scoping, designing, conducting and project management of complex SC investigations;
• Conduct or review site-specific risk assessments;
• Development or implementation of risk management or remedial strategies, including preparation of monitoring plans, site management plans and remedial action plans;
• Participation in stakeholder engagement and risk communication, including public meetings;
• Preparation and presenting independent expert evidence in environmental planning or court hearings;
• Acting as an independent reviewer or auditor (or similar), preferably as part of a statutory process;
• Contributing to SC policy development; or
• Teaching and research in SC Practice.

Certification will recognise supervisory, research, policy, regulation, community conservation work and teaching as contributing in part or whole to the 8 years ‘functional experience’, providing the applicant can demonstrate how these have contributed to relevant competence. Special dispensation may also be provided for those returning to the workforce from a long leave period associated with illness or parental leave.

Demonstration of work experience and professional proficiencies is shown by work verification signatures for 10 years of professional environmental practice (including 8 years of site contamination practice) and a current detailed CV.

The experience claimed for the minimum 10 years must be fully relevant to management and improvement of the environment, and all should be independently verified by a referee (e.g. current or former employer, a senior colleague, a referee who knew the applicant at that time). These individuals may be contacted during the application process.

The applicant must nominate a maximum of three areas of Environmental Practice. The nominated areas will be used to assess your eligibility for CEnvP and once certified these nominated areas will be used in online profiles and directories.

Evidence of your qualifications is required in the form of certified copies (see suggested Authorised Signatories in Australia, and in New Zealand).

A certified copy of your educational qualifications must be uploaded and submitted together with the online application. Please do not send us your academic transcripts as they will neither be considered with your application nor returned to you. Current CEnvPs applying for Specialist Certification do not need to provide evidence of their educational qualifications.

Your CV must be detailed and fully describe experience, roles and responsibilities, skills, outcomes, achievements, citations, presentations etc.

Additional information

Information may include but not necessarily be limited to testamurs, academic records, publications, citations, reports, training records, record of CPD activities undertaken, written statements of service, or information supplied by a witness, associate or referee.

Statement of claim statutory declaration

All applicants are required to sign a statutory declaration that the materials they have provided are accurate and complete in the presence of an appropriately authorised witness authority (e.g. Justice of the Peace or other relevant qualification in the jurisdiction).  Applicants must provide the details of the location where the declaration is being made.

All the supporting material can be submitted online at the time the online application form is completed and submitted. The EIANZ Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct is within the online application form. Please ensure you have read, understood and ticked that you will abide by it before proceeding onto the next section of the form.

Three experienced environmental professionals willing to act as referees are required. Each must have known the applicant for at least two years. They should be familiar with the applicant’s skills and attributes as they relate to environmental practice, ethics and professional integrity, and cover these aspects in their referee report. The applicant should include information on referees’ qualification, employment and relationship to the applicant.

Referee Reports must be provided from at least two of the nominated referees, including:

  • an experienced SC practitioner who is a CEnvP SC Specialist or would be eligible to apply for CEnvP SC Specialist themselves
  • an environmental professional external to the applicant’s current place of work who is familiar with one or more of the supporting documentation provided by the applicant.

The Referee Reports must provide sufficient information to demonstrate how the nominated referees meet the above requirements.

Referee Reports must cover the applicant’s skills and attributes as they specifically relate to SC practice, ethics and professional integrity, and must be completed on the official CEnvP Referee Report Form which will be sent to your nominated referees’ email address when you fill out the application form online.

Once accepted for certification, applicants must keep a log of professional development undertaken. A points system has been devised to describe the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and the total of 100 points requirement every two years. Please see CPD guidelines for more information.

A practitioner is re-certified every two years. At this time the applicant will need to provide evidence of CPD and a statement verifying any changed circumstances including employment and ethical conduct.

It is preferable that you provide evidence supporting your claim of any recent CPD activity with your application. These activities include:

• Formal courses at accredited education or training institutes, which may be directly face-to-face, by distance learning (correspondence), internet course, or a combination of these where there is a formal assessment at the completion;
• Short courses for which there is no actual assessment, but which will result in a Certificate of Attendance (evidence of doing the course);
• Participation at technical meetings, seminars and conferences relevant to the environment profession;
• Assistance in the management and organisation of EIANZ by being a Member of a Divisional Committee, a National Councillor, member of the Executive, Member of a Certification Panel, Member of the Certification Board, or Policy Review Committee OR assisting a similar professional organisation with a strong environmental component in a similar capacity;
• Presentations at conferences, seminars and technical meetings;
• Publication of technical or research papers in journals;
• Part-time or guest lectures in environmental studies at accredited education or training institutes or organisations;
• Assistance to junior members of the profession through the mentoring program;
• Private study of journals, magazines and reference texts;
• Provision of pro bono advice and assistance to community groups, including expert witness duties and expert advice for the Environmental Defenders Office (promotion of the environment profession and principles); and
• Industry/professional involvement for academia.

Detailed information on the application process for accredited auditors can be found here.

To apply, simply fill out the online application form and upload the requested documents.