Testing for contamination

To find out whether your land is actually contaminated or not, you need a Detailed Site Investigation. Any investigation of your property should be carried out by a suitably qualified and experienced practitioner who specialises in contaminated land investigations.

Rules in the Regional Plan say that you or your practitioner must submit any investigation report to Environment Canterbury within two months of completion. 

Reports can be sent to mailroom@ecan.govt.nz. 

Soil testing

Key information

What is involved in a detailed site investigation?

A detailed site investigation report should:

  • Assess the area, extent and nature of soil contamination at the site.
  • Evaluate whether soil contaminant concentrations exceed human health standards and guideline values established in the National Environmental Standard and other sources.
  • Identify and assess potential risks from identified contaminants to public health and the environment.

If a site investigation finds the concentration of hazardous substances is a threat to human health and the environment, you may need to remediate or manage your site. Call us or your local city or district council to find out more.

Who is a suitably qualified and experienced practitioner?

The National Environmental Standard requires that any investigations are undertaken and signed off by a suitably qualified and experienced practitioner.

We have a list of consultants that have nominated themselves as having suitably qualified people in their teams, but we still recommend asking questions to make sure your chosen consultant is suitably qualified to complete your work.

It should be someone who is independent, applies good professional practice and reports against appropriate contaminated land and industry guidelines.

A Detailed Site Investigation should be signed by a suitably qualified and experienced practitioner. They will certify that the report complies with good practice and professional standards and that the practitioner stands by the conclusions of the report.

 The expected minimum qualifications for a suitably qualified practitioner are:

  • Senior or principal scientist/engineer
  • Relevant tertiary education
  • At least ten years of contaminated land experience.

Every person involved in the Detailed Site Investigation and subsequent report preparation does not necessarily have to meet all these minimum qualifications.  The person certifying the report on behalf of their company would be expected to meet them. 

Ideally the certifier would belong to a recognised professional body that assesses and certifies environmental professionals in the competency criteria of training, experience, professional conduct and ethical behaviour – membership of an industry association alone does not qualify.

To select a suitably qualified and experienced practitioner, please consult the Environmental Consultants listings in the Yellow Pages or online. We recommend seeking comparative quotes from different practitioners.

How much does soil testing cost?

Investigation costs vary. They can depend on the size of your site, the current and previous land uses and the hazardous substances that might be present. 

You need to ask the specialist practitioner for an estimate of costs. 
There will be a cost and it can vary. This includes costs for site investigation and sampling, laboratory analysis, and the preparation of a detailed report by a suitably qualified and experienced practitioner.

We recommend seeking and comparing quotes from different practitioners.