Assessment of Excavated Natural Materials

Virgin Excavated Natural Material (VENM) - Excavated Natural Material (ENM)

The assessment of excavated natural materials is used to determine the quality of fill and whether it is safe to reuse or dispose. The NSW Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act) and the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2005 provide tight requirements on what constitutes ‘clean fill’. There are two broad categories:

  • VENM - Virgin Excavated Natural Material

  • ENM - Excavated Natural Material

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Virgin Excavated Natural Material

The POEO Act defines virgin excavated natural material (such as clay, gravel, sand, soil or rock fines) as natural material that:

  • Has been excavated or quarried from areas that are not contaminated with manufactured chemicals or process residues, as a result of industrial, commercial, mining or agricultural activities, and
  • Does not contain any sulfidic ores or soils or any other waste.

Excavated material that has been stored or processed in any way cannot be classified as VENM.

Excavated material that has been stored or processed in any way cannot be classified as VENM.

Excavated Natural Material

When an excavated material has been stockpiled, processed or impacted upon such that it cannot be classified as virgin excavated natural material, it may be eligible for re-use as Excavated Natural Material (ENM).

In NSW, the excavation and relocation of natural material for the purposes of engineering fill or to be used in earthworks, requires classification in accordance with the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2005 – Excavated Natural Material Exemption (EPA, 2012). The exemption provides tight maximum average and absolute maximum concentration values for a suite of chemical and other attributes and defines ‘excavated natural material’ as ‘naturally occurring rock and soil (including but not limited to materials such as sandstone, shale, clay and soil) that has:

  • Been excavated from the ground
  • Contains at least 98% (by weight) natural material, and
  • Does not meet the definition of Virgin Excavated Natural Material in the Act.

Broadcrest can assess and classify excavated materials on your site. For more information, contact us using the form below.

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